Accusing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif for blackmailing Pakistan and its institutions, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Senator Shibli Faraz on Sunday said the Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) was responsible for the present economic difficulties of the people as it looted national wealth and paralyzed the institutions for 30 years. Addressing a press conference here, he said when people put opposition out of power in the elections, it left behind landmines to harm the government of Pakistan Tehreek- e- Insaf (PTI). When the PTI government came, foreign exchange reserves of no more than six weeks were left and the current account deficit was more than $ 20 billion. The previous government left behind loans of Rs 30 trillion and Rs 2.9 trillion were allocated in the budget for payment of loans.The minister said Ishaq Dar kept the dollar artificially low by spending $ 23 billion and then he went out of the country in the plane of then prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi. The last government could not increase exports in the last five years and it damaged the industry, he added. When the government led by PTI came, its challenge was to pay back the loans and pay heavily for the imports of palm oil, crude oil and pulses, the minister said. He said the PTI government increased the foreign exchange reserves to $ 19 billion and the current account deficit was reduced from $20 billion and brought to the positive territory of $ 80 million dollars.“Our exports and remittances increased as people trusted the honest and sincere leadership of Imran Khan and the government met the revenue collection target of Rs 1 trillion,” he explained. He said Nawaz Sharif government signed expensive power agreements and his focus was not on renewal energy projects and transmission and power distribution but he relied on expensive fuels like oil and LNG. Those who claim to protect national interest only looted and did nothing for the public, he added. He said the opposition compromised on the national interest and its leaders became billionaires and acted greedily. The previous government also bought regasified LNG at higher rate, he said.The minister said Prime Minister Imran Khan recently held a meeting to boost oil and gas exploration whereas the previous government ignored the sector for the sake of commissions. He said the government improved the economic situation despite the challenge of coronavirus and fared better than other countries whose economies also suffered. He said the government reduced the budget deficit, curtailed the expenditure and took steps to increase the revenue. Shibli said China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) was reflection of unwavering friendship between Pakistan and China and the government was committed to complete the CPEC projects. Opposition with its statements should not harm projects of national importance, he added.Shibli said Nawaz Sharif was sitting in apartments worth billions of rupees in London and making speeches to create uncertainty and instability in the country and he did not want the economy to improve. The minister said the opposition was using people to come back into power. Opposition was divided and if its members would resign from the assemblies, their resignations would be accepted and bye elections would be held, he clarified. He asked Nawaz Sharif to tell how he made the assets and how he took away the money abroad.Shibli said the opposition was in a closed street after it attacked the institutions. He said the people knew that the government led by Imran Khan was honest and sincere. He said Imran Khan effectively raised the issue of Kashmir whereas Nawaz Sharif did not take the name of Kulbhushan Jadhav and he was blackmailing Pakistan and its institutions.Nawaz Sharif did not have smooth working relationship with the army chiefs and judiciary and he was accused of theft and financial crimes, he added.He noted that Nawaz Sharif had dictatorial tendencies and his party was now disunited. Nawaz had to submit before the law and face the cases against him, the minister said.To a question, he said prices of different commodities had fluctuated due to seasonal factors, adding the government was taking steps to bring down the prices.The minister said the ordinance of CPEC authority had lapsed and the government would present a bill in the parliament for the authority. To a question about political activity of the opposition, he said it was responsibility of the government to maintain law and order, adding those involved in corruption cases should be put into jail. Opposition wanted relief in corruption cases by carrying out political activity, he added.