We do not have ‘double standards’ on drone strikes: Nawaz

Nov 22, 2013| Courtesy by : tribune.com.pk

By Mariam Essa

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said “we do not have double standards,” in an apparent response to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s statement yesterday, in which he had alleged that Nawaz has a “dual policy” about drone strikes, Express News reported on Friday.

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“America knows that we are not the people who say one thing and do another,” Nawaz said, while speaking at the National Consultation Conference (Pakistan Vision 2025). He added that he had already told the press that he brought up the issue of drones with the US and President Barack Obama had acknowleged this “with a nod.”

In his press conference yesterday, Imran had asked Nawaz to not “play on both sides of the wicket” and accused him of saying one thing to the US and another to Pakistan.

Speaking at the conference today, Nawaz expressed his deep concern over the recent drone strike in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) that killed six people and injured at least eight others.

“We are really upset by the strikes… this is injustice against Pakistan,” he said.

The premier said that his party had decided in 2007 that they would not destabilise a government in order to improve their chances of coming into power.

“We never took to the streets to express our concerns,” he said, adding that it is a decision he does not regret.

“My attitude towards Pervez Khattak and others is the same as my attitude towards Shahbaz Sharif,” the prime minister said, referring to the chief ministers of K-P and Punjab respectively.

Nawaz said that he has always felt that the heads of provinces should be given the power and ability to help their people.

He added that his government had greatly helped Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah with the law and order situation in Karachi.

“[Qaim Ali] has played his role and we have played ours,” the premier said.

“If we had wanted to reshuffle the government, we would not have helped them. We would have let them fall,” Nawaz stated. “But Pakistaniat does not teach us to do this.”

A brighter future

The prime minister also announced plans to make a civil nuclear power plant in Karachi that will produce 2,117 megawatts of electricity. The power plant will be made in collaboration with China.

“I hope to meet with the leaders of the business community once a month, or once in two months,” he said, addressing the Federation of Pakistani Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI) President Zubair Ahmed Malik.

Nawaz expressed his pride in the Pakistani youth and announced that a scheme will be launched soon which will provide cheap loans for people with talent, experience and college education.

“I want this scheme to be successful,” Nawaz said. He acknowledged Finance Minister Ishaq Dar’s input in the scheme.

“Fifty percent of those benefiting from the scheme will be female and the other 50% will be male,” he said, eliciting applause from the audience.

Nawaz said that he feels he gets more time for work when he does not come on television, and asked the population not to think that when he is not making public addresses, he is not doing any work.

“Your futures will change and the day that you say ‘we have a stake in Pakistan, this is our Pakistan’ will be the happiest one for me,” the premier said, addressing the population of Pakistan.