Shehbaz Sharif
Leader of the opposition PML-N party Shahbaz Sharif. Image Credit: Agencies

Islamabad: Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) President and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif has offered the government of Prime Minister Imran Khan cooperation and working relationship in the larger interest of the nation.

In an interview with a private TV channel, Sharif stressed the need for learning lessons from the past mistakes and taking the country forward.

He said there were only two ways, either we keep ourselves mired in the past, raising slogans of ‘accountability’ and continuing on the path of confrontation or moving forward for the welfare of the nation and progress of the country.

This was Sharif’s first major TV appearance after July 25 landslide defeat of his party in the Kashmir elections. He was under pressure to explain his party’s line whether it was going to confront or cooperate with the government.

Shahbaz’s niece and daughter of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, has repeatedly said the PML-N would not extend cooperation to the present government.

Shahbaz Sharif’s policy, however, is that of dialogue and reconciliation and he had been reiterating this in his interviews, party meetings and public interactions.

Shahbaz Sharif while replying to a question, rejected the reports of his resignation as the party president and said there was no truth in reports that he had disappeared from the political scene.

The opposition leader admitted that he was offered premiereship twice but he was loyal to the party supremo his elder brother Nawaz Sharif.

Sharif revealed that first, former president Ghulam Ishaq Khan and then former president General (R) Pervez Musharraf had offered to make him the prime minister.

He also admitted that politicians had been used in the past.

When the programme host Salim Safi asked him if Nawaz Sharif was ready for compromise with the establishment, and if he (Shahbaz) was ready for resisting the establishment, the PML-N president said Nawaz Sharif was the party Quaid (Supreme Leader) and all party leaders including him took guidance from him. He said difference of opinion was natural in any democratic party. However, he said, there was a need to rise above personal likes and dislikes to steer the country out of the crisis.

He said he believed in reconciliation, and wanted everyone to set aside personal ego and join hands for eradicating poverty from the country.