Pakistan’s Leader of Opposition Shahbaz Sharif on Saturday defended his “beggars can’t be choosers” remarks after drawing the ire of embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan and his supporters. The Pakistan Muslim League (N) leader, who is touted to be the next prime minister, said that true freedom can never be achieved without financial independence.
Responding to the allegations of appeasing the US for better diplomatic ties, Sharif had earlier said “beggars can’t be choosers, please understand”.
“We have to feed our nation […] we have to send our children to school, we can’t fight with someone, can’t raise slogans against others,” the PML-N leader was quoted as saying by ARY News. “Who are we, we are the country which is fighting for its survival.”
Defending his remarks, Sharif said that Pakistan is surviving on loans from foreign agencies and economic sovereignty is essential for the country’s independence in the true sense.
“For those misinterpreting my remark, it has always been my conviction that true independence comes from self-reliance. The concept of sovereignty is incomplete without economic sovereignty, which cannot be achieved without blood, sweat and tears,” he tweeted.
Khan, who is set to face a no-confidence vote on Sunday, has been targeting Sharif, calling him a “slave of America” in interviews and public addresses.
“Shahbaz Sharif will be a slave of America… he said in a TV Programme yesterday that beggars are not choosers… what does this mean? Does that mean that the poor and beggars are slaves? Ask him (Shehbaz Sharif) who brought Pakistan to such a state. Just because we are poor, should we be slaves?” the former cricketer said while taking questions from viewers on TV.
Imran Khan has been repeatedly citing a “threat letter” from a foreign power and linked the opposition’s no-trust vote with it.
“The letter says as soon as Imran Khan is removed, we will spare you… They all had conspired beforehand that when Imran Khan is removed, Shahbaz Sharif will come, on whom there are allegations of corruption worth millions,” Khan said.”Who brought Pakistan to life support machine? These three stooges were taking turns to rule the country for 30 years. They have brought us to this state and are now asking us to be slaves of America,” he added.