LAHORE: Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) senior vice president on Saturday asked the nation to “have faith in Ishaq Dar and his Allah” to steer the country’s deteriorating economy out of the current quagmire, in her first speech after her return to Pakistan after a nearly four-month sojourn in London.
Speaking to jubilant supporters waving party flags, Maryam Nawaz said, “The point that four years of disqualification, incompetence and neglect have made the economy reach at the level where it is today, it will take some time but have faith in Ishaq Dar [and] God. We’ll take the economy out of quagmire.”
The affirmation comes a day after the State Bank of Pakistan’s foreign exchange reserves dropped to a new nine-year low of $3.68 billion during the week ending on January 20.
In her address today, Maryam Nawaz vowed her father would also return to the country “in upcoming days with Allah’s blessings [and] in your affection”. She asserted the PML-N would win the upcoming Punjab elections with significant margins, besides upcoming general elections.
The PML-N Chief Organizer said she and her father, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, were well aware of the inflation that the country was mired in and promised that her party would resolve the challenge.
Referring to her recent elevation to the role of party’s senior vice president and chief organizer, she thanked her father, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and the people for trusting her with new responsibilities. “I promise you, my country and my party that we won’t sit idle for even a single day now.”
Amid tight security to avoid any untoward situation, the party workers in the provincial capital have prepared camps near the airport to welcome Maryam, with senior leaders also in presence.
PML-N supremo Nawaz has asked Maryam to lead rallies and meetings ahead of the upcoming elections in Punjab, alongside Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah. The newly-appointed chief organizer has also been tasked to “reorganize” the party set-up.
Addressing the charged PML-N workers, she reiterated that Nawaz would be among them soon — a topic that has been widely speculated about.
“These [establishment] people ousted Nawaz from the government again and again. You brought him into power thrice but these people toppled his governments,” she said.
The PML-N leader termed the ouster of Sharif on July 28, 2017, in the Panama leaks case as a “national tragedy”, adding that Pakistan has not recovered since then.
Maryam vowed that she would not rest until her party changes the fate of the nation and steers the country out of the ongoing crisis — both economic and political.
“All the characters who hatched a conspiracy against Nawaz have to pay the price for their actions,” the PML-N senior vice president said, who will now lead the party’s efforts ahead of the provincial elections.
Maryam thanked Nawaz, PML-N President and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and the party workers for posing their trust in her leadership and assigning her new responsibilities.
Taking a jibe at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, she said that he was “crying” after dissolving his governments in the two provinces.
Maryam hoped that her party would win the next elections with a heavy majority and Khan will have to “cry for the rest of his life.
Talking about her election strategy, the PML-N leader said that she would visit each district of Punjab from February 1.
In conversation with journalists, those who showed loyalty to the party will be given priority and the tickets would be issued on merit. The PML-N leader said that she wanted to reorganise and strengthen the structure of the party.
Maryam said that PML-N is united, however, there might be differences at the local level, which are of common occurrence in every political party.
She said that PML-N Senior Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi’s loyalty to the party goes back three decades and that his loyalty could not be questioned.
“Party is like a home and it should be united. There should be no personal agenda in the party,” she added.
The PML-N leader concluded her address with the expected announcement of setting out on a campaign visit to cities across Punjab. “The schedule of my visits to all districts of Punjab, starting from Feb 1, has been made.”
Upon her arrival at Lahore Airport, Maryam tweeted: “Pak sar zameen shad bad.”
Meanwhile, the PML-N’s official Twitter account shared a video of a “sea of people eagerly waiting” to welcome her. Hundreds of people can be seen waving flags and holding party banners while a party anthem plays in the background.
Earlier, party spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said Maryam was returning to begin the “reorganisation of the party”.
She had left Pakistan for London in October last year, just a day after her passport was returned to her. At the time, she said she was “eager” to meet her father Nawaz, whom she hadn’t met since 2019.
In a tweet today, Aurangzeb said Maryam will reach Lahore today by 3pm. “Party leaders, workers and people are eagerly and happily waiting for Maryam Nawaz,” she said. “Maryam Nawaz will return to the country and start the reorganization of the party.”
She departed London for Pakistan yesterday. It is understood that she will build the party’s election narrative — as formulated by Nawaz — holding Imran, former judges and military officers responsible for the economic and political instability in Pakistan.
It comes after Interior Rana Sanaullah announced that she would return on January 28th (today). He also said there would be a “huge reception” awaiting her at the Lahore airport.
On Saturday afternoon, PML-N Punjab’s Twitter account posted a video of Maryam boarding a plane from the UAE.
On January 3, in a move that was seen as a significant development in terms of the PML-N’s internal politics, Maryam was elevated in the party ranks, making her one of the party’s senior-most leaders in the country.
In a notification, the party’s president Shehbaz appointed vice president Maryam Nawaz as ‘senior vice president and chief organizer’ of the party with immediate effect. Earlier, former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was the only senior vice president of the party.
PML-N President Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also authorized her to “reorganize” the party “at all functional levels”.
“Pursuant to the powers conferred under the constitution of the PML-N, the undersigned (Shehbaz Sharif) is pleased to appoint Maryam Nawaz Sharif as senior vice president with immediate effect. She is authorized to reorganize the party at all functional tiers/levels as chief organizer,” the notification says.
PM Shehbaz said in a tweet: “I have appointed @MaryamNSharif as senior vice-president of PML-N. She has the drive, determination & experience to lead the party’s organizational matters. I have no doubts that she will very effectively galvanzse our party’s rank & file with the vision of our Quaid Nawaz Sharif.”
Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, who is a relative of Nawaz Sharif, was among the first to congratulate his daughter.
“Heartiest congratulations and best wishes for @MaryamNSharif on her appointment as SVP/Chief Organiser of PMLN by the party President @CMShehbaz in consultation with the party Quaid @NawazSharifMNS.”
Read more: Maryam Nawaz will land in Lahore at 3pm