Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif will contest general elections after returning to the country as “there is no legal hurdle” for him to participate in the electoral politics.
Speaking on Geo News Aaj Shahzaib Khanzada Kay Sath programme on Monday, the finance minister said Nawaz will be the party’s candidate for the post of prime minister if he took part in the elections and added that the ruling PML-N including Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif would work under him.
“Mian Shehbaz Sharif and we all want him to return to the country and lead the country as he is the only statesman left according to our analysis,” he added.
Dar said Nawaz, who has been living in London since November 2019 on medical grounds, will return to his home country following the completion of his medical treatment.
“He will return to the country when the party asks him to do so. His medical treatment is pending. He will go to the United Kingdom in the next two or three days and there is also a possibility that he might travel to Saudi Arabia to perform Umrah,” he added.
He further said that there is no legal hurdle for the three-time premier — who was disqualified for life in 2017 and subsequently convicted in corruption cases — to participate in elections after parliament recently passed an amended election law limiting public office holder disqualification period to a maximum of five years.
His statement comes a day after Nawaz vowed to bring down inflation in the country if voted to power in the upcoming general elections.
The ex-premier said this while talking to different PML-N delegations belonging to the different Gulf countries in Dubai, according to state-run Radio Pakistan.
Nawaz said that the ruling PML-N will resolve all problems and difficulties being faced by the people.
The disqualified prime minister and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, arrived in the UAE on June 24, where they held important meetings including with Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) top leaders Asif Ali Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari.
Electricity tariffs to go up
During the TV show, the finance minister also confirmed that the electricity base tariff can be “affected” by Rs3.5 to Rs4 following a deal with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) on a $3 billion stand-by agreement (SBA).
Any increase in the electricity tariffs will be calculated by National Electric Power Regulatory Authority (Nepra), he added.
Pakistan will have to notify an increase in gas sale price by 45-50 per cent and electricity base tariff by Rs3.50 to over Rs4 per unit for the FY2023-24 prior to the IMF Executive Board’s meeting, which is due on July 12, a senior official of the energy ministry told The News.
The increase in energy prices will pave the way for the $3 billion programme under the Stand-By Arrangement (SBA) agreed with the IMF at the staff level, the official added
Dar also predicted that inflation will go down and the rupee will strengthen against the US dollar in the coming days.
Speaking about the external financing gap, the financial czar said Pakistan will receive $2 billion from Saudi Arabia and $1 billion from UAE as part of their financial commitments to Pakistan to secure the IMF package.