PM holds PTI responsible for economic difficulties Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday held the previous government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) responsible for the economic difficulties of the common man and expressed determination to take Pakistan out of economic hardship. Addressing Mufti Mehmood Conference in Islamabad, he said the previous government violated the agreement with International Monetary Fund (IMF) to create difficult economic situation for the succeeding coalition government. Chief of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Maulana Fazlur Rehman organized the conference here in memory of his father and former chief minister of North West Frontier Province Mufti Mehmood. Shehbaz Sharif said when his coalition partners gave him responsibility to lead the country as prime minister, Pakistan’s economy was in dire straits and the country was on the verge of default. Referring to Imran Khan, he said a person wanted Pakistan to default and become another Sri Lanka. He said under the guidance of Muhammad Nawaz Sharif and Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the coalition government went through a difficult time, however, it succeeded in taking steps for the progress of Pakistan. “If our intentions are good, [and] we fear Allah, then Allah removes all difficulties and opens new paths.” He said he never wanted to put burden of inflation on the people. After the arrival of new Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, the government managed to reduce the petrol prices, he observed. He said the government, with support of the coalition partners, would consider further reduction in petrol prices. “Pakistan did not become independent to remain poor but to become prosperous and emerge as a dignified country,” he remarked. He paid tribute to Mufti Mehmood, saying he was an eminent religious scholar, researcher and political leader. “I have great admiration for religious scholars.” Mufti Mehmood was a teacher and taught thousands of students at his madressah in Multan and rendered great services for the cause of Islam, he reminisced. He said Mufti Mehmood led a simple life and when he became chief minister of a coalition government of the present Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province he continued to engage his political contemporaries as he believed in dialogue. Mufti Mehmood was in politics during the eras of Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and never closed the door to talks with his political peers and promoted dialogue. Mufti Mehmood had a guiding principle that despite all differences, dialogue was essential part of politics, he reminded.