Didn’t listen to Imran Khan’s address: Nawaz Sharif

Islamabad: Former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz Sharif on Thursday refused to answer questions on Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation, asserting that he did not listen to his speech.

Sharif made the comments while appearing before an accountability court in Islamabad over graft cases against his family.

When questioned about the address and Pakistan’s recent financial deal with Saudi Arabia, Sharif replied, “I seldom watch TV and did not listen to his address.” The three-time prime minister further refused to take any other questions after that, Geo News reported.

On Wednesday, Khan thanked Saudi Arabia for easing the pressure on Pakistan by extending financial help to the cash-strapped nation.

“My Pakistanis, today I am here with good news for all of you. We were facing really hard times. We were highly pressurised into paying heavy debts. But thanks to Saudi Arabia’s extension of assistance, we are out of the pressure,” the 66-year-old leader said in the address.

Stating that the nation was ‘at the brink of becoming a defaulter’ due to limited resources, Khan continued, “We had two options, either go to International Monetary Fund (IMF) or seek help from friendly countries. If we had gone to IMF directly, we’d have had to borrow more money and that would have meant stricter conditions which would crush our poor strata of society. But now we are in a better position.”

Launching a scathing attack at the preceding governments, the cricketer-turned-politician claimed that the governments had “accumulated Pakistan’s debts from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion” in addition to the circular debt of Rs 1,200 billion left behind by them.

Khan’s speech came after Pakistan secured loans to the tune of USD 6 billion during talks with Saudi Arabia on the sidelines of the Future Investment Initiative conference in Riyadh.