KARACHI - Former prime minister and PML-N chief Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif has asked the government to immediately announce elections if it is sincere with democracy.

Nawaz Sharif, who arrived here on Monday to attend the meeting of Sindh Council of the party, talking to media at Karachi airport, said it was high time for the government to pick up the gauntlet and take bold initiative. Responding to a query about his expected meeting with President Asif Ali Zardari, who is staying in the metropolis, the PML-N chief ruled out any such sitting with the president, saying he did not know as to who wanted that meeting to take place.

He said he did not know about CM Balochistan Aslam Raisani’s statement regarding meeting with President Zardari. “I came to know about his (Zardari’s) presence in the metropolis through media,” he said.

Talking on new provinces, the PML-N chief said, “We have already in favour of the restoration of old Bahawalpur province and Hazara province. We back smaller administrative units in the country but the provinces should not be based on linguistic grounds,” he said.

Without naming, Nawaz said those who were talking about new provinces, would ultimately ask for separate province in Sindh, he said adding, they would not favour province in Sindh on ethnic basis.

Sharif said some people in his party had opined to resign from the National Assembly. “I am not in favour of this opinion, as we don’t want to destabilise the assemblies,” he said.

Later, addressing the party’s Sindh Council meeting, the former prime minister lashed out at the government for pushing the country in multiple crises saying had the Charter of Democracy (CoD) been implemented; there would not have been such wretched days faced by the country.

Now the PML-N has been re-organised and new office-bearers have been elected for the Sindh, he said. He was confident that his party would gain more seats in Sindh than in the past. He said he would visit interior Sindh in a mass contact drive which would be beneficial to his party whenever the elections were held.

Sharif was hopeful that the message that his party would carry to the people in the interior Sindh would certainly have deep impact on the political outcome. The poor people of Sindh had already suffered immensely due to manmade flood in 2010 and then unprecedented rain in 2011. “These people cannot forget the suffering they met with because of the inaction of the present government which hardly provides succour to the poor at the time of their need,” he said.

He said the power crisis dealt massively detrimental blow to the country’s economy and vowed that his party-led government would put an end to the loadshedding in the country.

Agencies add: Sharif said he had not come to Karachi after consulting President Zardari. He said the sole purpose of his visit to Karachi was to conduct the party’s provincial elections. Sharif said the PML-N was a democratic party and there was democracy within the ranks of the party.

He expressed concern over poor law and order in Karachi, adding that all the parties functional in the mega city should tell the citizens about their role. He said military courts could be established in Karachi to restore peace in the city.

The PML-N chief also vowed to restore the economy to better conditions if his party was re-elected.

Sharif remarked that Musharraf’s old team was now being fostered in a new ‘cantonment’. He said neighbouring India had progressed because it had not faced a single martial-law. Nobody even knew the Indian army chief’s name today, he said. Nawaz also claimed that the coal deposits in Thar could change the country’s fortunes.

He said if Zardri had accepted the agenda of the CoD, it would have worked wonders for the country’s prosperity. The PML-N chief also added that, by following the aforementioned agenda, if Zardari succeeded in improving condition of the country, and was elected into office again, that would make Sharif the happiest person in Pakistan since his only priority was a prosperous Pakistan.

The PML-N chief said that he was planning on establishing schools for the underprivileged in every part of the country, similar to the ones being run by Shahbaz Sharif in Punjab.