No Extension In Tenure: Shehbaz Confirms Caretaker Setup To Take Over In August

No Extension In Tenure: Shehbaz Confirms Caretaker Setup To Take Over In August
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday confirmed that the incumbent rainbow coalition would not seek to extend its 15-month tenure and that the assemblies will dissolve and make way for a caretaker setup upon completing their constitutional term.

In an address to the nation on Thursday evening, Shehbaz said that they tried their best to turn things around in the short time they were afforded from April 2022.

"In April 2022, you entrusted me with a responsibility as the prime minister of the country's prosperity and well-being of the public; we will pass this responsibility on to the caretaker setup in August 2023."

In a veiled swipe at his biggest opponent and predecessor, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Shehbaz said that they "tried to clean up the mess of the past four years in the brief span of 15 months."

Despite challenges and conspiracies hatched by political opponents, he said that the coalition government has successfully managed to put the country on the right track.

The prime minister, in his over 14-minute address to the nation, said the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, signed by the previous government against tough conditions, was the biggest obstacle to reviving the country's economy.

The previous regime had driven the country to the brink of default by deviating from that agreement, he added.

"We cleared the mines laid in the path of Pakistan's progress, rectified the economy, foreign relations, energy crisis, law and order and other issues."

Instead of helping, he said that political opponents remained busy hatching conspiracies and creating hurdles in resuming the programme. All such efforts, he suggested, were in vain.

"We also addressed the gross mismanagement of governance, corruption, ineptitude and conspiracies," he said.

He said this period of his government was a journey of moving from destructive progress towards constructive work. It was a journey towards economic stability, helping the flood-affected people, providing maximum employment to the unemployed, providing relief to the people hit by inflation, and the revival of freedom of speech, media freedom and national integration.

He said the coalition parties sacrificed their politics at the cost of saving the country from plunging into default by taking the toughest decision. "We always remained worried about increasing the foreign exchange reserves in the State Bank of Pakistan instead of thinking about our vote banks".

The prime minister said despite the anti-state conspiracies, the government did not lose its heart and succeeded in reaching a staff-level agreement with the IMF.

"Today, on behalf of the whole nation, I sincerely thank Pakistan's great friendly and brotherly countries, China, Saudi Arabia, and UAE, who, once again under a very difficult situation, supported Pakistan with a sincerity which can never be forgotten," he added.

He said the way the Chinese Premier Xi Jinping, Saudi Arabia's Prince Mohammad bin Salman and President UAE Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan played their role in bringing Pakistan out of the crisis was praiseworthy.

The prime minister also acknowledged the efforts of Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari for his efforts on the diplomatic level. Similarly, he also appreciated Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Chief of the Army Staff General Syed Asim Munir for their untiring efforts to help stabilize the country's economy.

He said the time had come to regain the lost glory by moving forward with collective wisdom and struggle. Shehbaz Sharif informed that a comprehensive national plan of economic revival had been finalized for this purpose. A special investment facilitation council has been formed, which has also initiated its work, he said, adding the council was paving the way for big investments from the gulf countries in various fields, including agriculture, industry, energy, IT, defence production and minerals.

He also assured the nation that on this national agenda, the federal government, all the provincial governments, and the armed forces were adopting the whole-of-the-government approach to make this project successful.
Expressing satisfaction over the overall economic situation, the prime minister said the trust of the business and investment communities was also reviving. At the same time, the international rating agency Fitch had also improved Pakistan's rating to triple C.

Similarly, he said the United Nations Human Rights Council had also testified to the improving human rights situation in Pakistan. In contrast, Pakistan has also shown improvement by climbing steps in the International Freedom Index.
Shehbaz Sharif said when the staff-level agreement with the IMF was announced on June 30, the investors expressed their satisfaction through the Stock Exchange market as the KSE-100 index jumped by record 2446 points in a single day.

Now the Stock Exchange has crossed the 45000 level, which is the highest in 14 months, he said, adding that the value of the Pakistani Rupee was also improving.

The prime minister said the Rs 1150 billion historical development budget, Rs 2000 billion agriculture development fund under Kissan Package, transfer of agriculture tube wells to solar energy, Rs80 billion Prime Minister Youth Programme, interest-free and concessional loans in agriculture industry, IT and other sectors, provision of laptops to the talented students, educational scholarships, women empowerment, special scholarships to families of martyrs, and timely completion of infrastructural projects were few of the achievements of the incumbent government.

Resolving to break the begging bowl, he asked the country's youth to come forward to take the country to new heights of development and prosperity.