ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday finally delivered his speech in the Lower House after three days of rowdy behaviour by lawmakers. Moments before Shehbaz’s speech, Defence Minister Pervez Khattak had announced at a press conference that the government and Opposition had reached an agreement to run the National Assembly “in an orderly manner”. The announcement followed days after the Treasury and Opposition benches were caught in a major brawl at the National Assembly for the 2022 fiscal year. Shehbaz Sharif, in his speech, said all of the lawmakers present in the assembly were responsible for changing the future of the nation and criticised the government, saying the budget was “fake”, as the pockets of the poor people were “empty” and they were not able to feed their families. “In three years, 20 million people have been pushed below the poverty line, while the growth rate has come down drastically in the last year,” he said and added that the minimum wage should be atleast Rs 25,000. “The wages of labourers have fallen by 18% in the last three years as people keep asking where the promised 10 million jobs and 5 million houses are.” “The unemployment rate stands at 15% and food prices have shot up by 30% in the last three years,” he said. Shehbaz Sharif refuted Shaukat Tarin’s claims that the country’s economy is progressing, highlighting the wheat prices hike from Rs35 to Rs70. Further, he said 1.1 million tonnes of sugar were exported with the prime minister’s approval, and a subsidy worth billions of rupees was given on it. “First sugar and wheat were exported, then they were imported — it incurred a loss of billions of rupees on the national exchequer.” He also added that the provinces are different from each other and that development does not mean developing the province of Punjab only. The government has devoted its energy to revenge instead of accountability. “The Opposition has been subjected to the worst kind of revenge.” He said when coronavirus had hit the country, the Opposition had sat down with the government to discuss a plan of action, but Prime Minister Imran Khan left the meeting. “You had pushed us against the wall even when we tried to help you during the stressful times of coronavirus,” he said. Shehbaz questioned the integrity of the government in its spending and asked that why money was not spent on coronavirus vaccines? Further, he complained of Imran Khan’s secrecy in matters relating to the public. “The government should inform the Opposition about the conditions of the IMF,” he said, as the government keeps reiterating that the international money lender had imposed harsh conditions. The Opposition leader slammed the prime minister for not taking the house in confidence. “How will this nation forgive its leaders?”, asked Sharif. More to follow….