'Imran Khan minister must be careful in what he says,' warns foreign minister
Lashing out at Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan for his latest accusation on his family and association it to a terrorist organisation, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Saturday that the ex-prime minister must be careful about what he says.
Bilawal, who holds the portfolio of foreign minister, lambasted the PTI chief after the former accused his father, PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, of hatching a plot to assassinate him with the help of terrorist organisations.
"Imran must realize every time his wife has a dream he cannot just come on tv & make accusations about people. Her dreams won’t stand up in court," the minister said in a series of tweets.
Bilawal claimed that Khan’s allegations had increased the threat to him and his family, especially given their history.
“After terrorist outfits called [me] and my party out by name in direct threats, Imran has now made false accusations against my father former president [Asif Zardari]."
"These statements increase threats to my father, my family & my part[y]. We take them seriously given our history," the foreign minister said.
Terming the accusations of the PTI chief “dangerous,” he said that PPP was exploring legal responses to Khan’s most recent accusations.
“We are exploring legal response to Imran latest defamatory and dangerous accusations. In the past, he threatened my father that he was ‘in the crosshairs of his gun’."
"He & his associates' history as both sympathizers & facilitators of terrorists are well documented," the foreign minister said.
Reiterating his stance that Khan was unduly sympathetic to terrorists and extremists, Bilawal added: “When in power, he released terrorists and arrested democrats, he handed over Pakhtunkhwa to terrorist organisation, his party funds terrorist groups to this day. All of this will be taken into account if any attack were to take place against myself, my father, or my party.”
In a virtual press conference on Friday Khan — who was ousted as the prime minister in April last year — claimed four people orchestrated a plan "behind closed doors" to assassinate him.
Khan alleged that now that the Wazirabad attack had failed, another plan was afoot. “Asif Zardari is behind it. He has amassed a lot of money through corruption and he has invested that money in terrorists and hired a militant organisation.”
Khan also claimed that “agencies” were involved in this plot.
Bilawal further asserted: “His [Khan’s] latest accusation that my family has any association to a terrorist organization or that we would employ them to cause him harm not only defies logic but exposes us all to an increased threat.
“PPP will challenge him. We cannot let populist fiction dominate our discourse, poison our politics & damage our democracy. We will not tolerate being victims of terrorist & put up with propaganda from their political frontmen.”
It must be noted that earlier today, PPP leaders Qamar Zaman Kaira, Nair Bukhari, and Farhatullah Babar held a press conference in Islamabad and denounced the allegations hurled by the former prime minister, saying the party would take legal action if Khan does not retract his statement and apologise.
Speaking during the presser, Bukhari said that Khan is “politically dead already”. “Khan has been mentally affected by his political failures and accuses his rival parties, the judiciary and the establishment from time to time,” he added.
“Khan is out of his senses due to loss of power,” said PPP leader Babar.
Furthermore, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, too, slammed the PTI chief for levying “baseless and dangerous” allegations and spewing vitriol in a bid to stay relevant in the political arena.
Taking to Twitter, the PM wrote: “Imran Niazi's baseless and dangerous allegations against former President Asif Ali Zardari are not only irresponsible but also conform to a pattern of conspiracy theories meant to spread venom against his political opponents.
“Such nonsensical rhetoric is an attempt to remain politically relevant. The whole nation knows how he has used politics of hatred to divide the society for the sake of power.”