LAHORE: Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said Monday that former prime minister Imran Khan was the face of the judiciary and establishment's "mistakes".
In his address to an event in Lahore, the defence minister said: "Imran's not intelligent, he's a fool. The 'Imran Khan model' was forcedly manufactured in the laboratory in 2018."
Since his ouster in April, the deposed prime minister has been targeting the institutions for allegedly helping the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) come into power — but the incumbent government had repeatedly denied the notion.
Slamming the PTI chief, Asif said that he invested the charity money he received from a cricket club into properties. "This person [Imran] has lived on others' money."
"He has been siphoning money from the people for a long time. He and his followers are pickpockets," the senior minister said, noting that it was time that the "political elite" ensure that they are doing their job in the right manner.
The defence minister also advised his party's leadership to accept the resignations of PTI lawmakers and send them "on a wild goose chase".
"Right now, at least 130-135 lawmakers have quit. But, all the PTI lawmakers are residing in Rs500 million residences and taking all the facilities from the government. They're thieves," he said.
He also suggested to the PTI leadership that if they want their members of parliament to resign, they should begin first begin with Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
Asif added that 2013, there were "some transactions" former prime minister Nawaz Sharif was asked to do a transaction in 2013, but he did not follow through.
"Had he followed through on it, there would be no Panama Leaks and no punishments," he said, adding that Nawaz has always stood firm on his "stance" and never backed down.
For his part, Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq said former chief of army staff General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa was on a "mission" to bring the PTI into power and the party should be thankful to him.
The PTI — apart from institutions — has been targetting the former army chief, with Imran going as far as blaming him for his government's ouster and "betrayal".
"Elected peoples' loyalties were bought and they were asked to side with the PTI. Pakistan's loss is a loss for everyone, but Imran is immune to this as well," Sadiq lamented.
In his address, Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique said that the coalition parties do not blame the establishment for what's wrong in the country. "However, those who imposed martial law aren't just suspects, they're criminals."
He also blamed the political parties for not "strengthening themselves" as despite taking hundreds of thousands of votes, only a few actually struggle for democracy's upliftment.
"Unfortunately, no political party has democratic traditions in them," he added.
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