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Nawaz Sharif’s Return: A Historic Moment of Unity

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Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif marked his return to Lahore’s iconic Minar-e-Pakistan monument on October 21, 2023, concluding a four-year period of self-imposed exile in London. This momentous occasion was met with a grand rally organized by the PML-N, bringing together party members and enthusiastic supporters from all corners of the country. The rally, while celebrating Sharif’s return, also signified a shift in Pakistan’s political landscape.

Addressing the massive gathering, Sharif made a resounding declaration that his return would not be marked by a politics of revenge. Instead, he expressed a heartfelt desire for reconciliation, unity, and a commitment to principled politics that refrains from derogatory statements. His address touched on various aspects of Pakistan’s political history and the path forward, creating a moment of profound significance.

Opening his speech with a poignant Urdu couplet, Sharif’s words symbolized his resilience and unwavering determination, despite facing political adversity, exile, and imprisonment. He recalled his achievements as Prime Minister, notably in the eradication of power outages and the reduction of electricity tariffs, showcasing his vision for a better Pakistan.

While expressing his willingness to reconcile, Sharif did not shy away from acknowledging the sorrows he carried, particularly the memories of his late mother and wife. He fondly remembered his late wife, Begum Kulsoom Nawaz, and the warmth of her welcome upon his return to Pakistan.

Sharif, with somber reflection, lamented the restrictions he endured during his imprisonment in Adiala Jail, particularly the inability to make a phone call while his ailing wife was in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in London.

In comparing his tenure with that of his political adversary, Imran Khan, Sharif highlighted his steadfast commitment to crucial national matters, including his refusal to forgo conducting nuclear tests despite external pressures. He pointed out that during his leadership, essential goods such as bread and petrol were affordable, with prices at Rs4 and Rs60, respectively. He emphasized the alarming increase in inflation, fueled by the exchange rate of the US dollar, which surged beyond Rs250 in 2022.

Contrary to initial expectations that his speech would focus solely on economic achievements and avoid criticism, Sharif delved into the Panama verdict, emphasizing its impact on Pakistan’s progress and development.

Sharif outlined the pivotal role of his PML-N government in potentially securing Pakistan’s inclusion among the G-20 economies. He stressed their dedication to serving the people and ensuring affordable prices for essential goods. The former Prime Minister also highlighted the extensive motorway construction projects that have transformed Pakistan’s infrastructure.

Pointing to soaring electricity bills in August 2022, Sharif expressed regret over the exorbitant rates imposed on the people. He cited specific cases where consumers witnessed staggering increases in their bills, notably during the PDM government led by his brother Shahbaz Sharif.

In a touching moment, Sharif recited two couplets, conveying the profound emotions he had endured for the nation. These couplets encapsulated his deep commitment and sacrifice for Pakistan.

Sharif, referring to himself as a “son of the soil,” expressed deep sorrow over the unfair treatment he had faced despite his significant contributions to Pakistan. He urged his supporters to adopt a politics free from revenge and bitterness.

In a powerful gesture of solidarity, Sharif waved the flag of Palestine, demanding an end to hostilities and aggression in the region. He emphasized the importance of adhering to the Constitution by all state institutions, highlighting its significance in ensuring Pakistan’s sustainability.

Throughout his speech, Sharif stressed the lesson he had learned during his four-decade political journey – unity among all stakeholders is essential for the country’s prosperity. He called for all state institutions to operate within the boundaries defined by Pakistan’s Constitution.

Sharif also highlighted the economic successes Pakistan achieved during his tenure as Prime Minister, using the Karachi Green Line and Lahore Orange Train as testaments to that success.

Reflecting on the disintegration of Pakistan in 1971, Sharif speculated that had the country remained united, both East and West Pakistan could have transformed into an economic corridor.

Sharif concluded his address by offering a brief prayer for Pakistan’s economic development, with a focus on tackling unemployment and reducing inflation.

This historic gathering, which illuminated Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan and various locations across the city, symbolized a turning point in Pakistan’s political landscape. Notable leaders, including Maryam Nawaz, were present, and Sharif’s return was a moment of unity and hope.

In the lead-up to the rally, an extensive network of supporters and party leaders from all regions of Pakistan made their way to Lahore. The support was unprecedented, with PML-N leaders leading convoys of enthusiastic followers.

The return of Nawaz Sharif is not just a political event but a significant milestone in Pakistan’s democratic history. His commitment to principled politics, unity, and economic progress holds the promise of a brighter future for the nation.

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