Sunday September 24, 2023

Imran wants power even if it undermines country: PM

By By Muhammad Anis & News Desk
December 05, 2022
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File
Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif. — AFP/File

ISLAMABAD/LAHORE: Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Sunday came down hard on PTI Chairman Imran Khan over his intentions to grab power even at the cost of undermining the country’s foundations.

“His politics is aimed at making way to power even if it means undermining the foundations this country stands on,” the prime minister said on his Twitter handle.

The strong reaction from the premier came after Imran Khan in an interview said that the Punjab and KP assemblies would not be dissolved if the coalition government agreed to hold the general elections by end of March.

Shehbaz said Imran’s latest diatribe against parliamentary democracy was the latest in a series of attacks that fly in the face of how democracy functions in modern nation-states.

During the interview, Imran said his party won’t agree on a date after March and the assemblies will be dissolved this month [December] if the government disagrees.

“How long will they take to decide? They either have to say yes or no. We have already decided,” the former premier said, underlining his conditional stance on talks with the government on the election date.

Meanwhile, former prime minister and PMLN senior leader Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said PTI was responsible for damaging the country’s economy.

“During its four-year rule, Imran created trouble for all the national institutions, including the judiciary, Election Commission and National Accountability Bureau,” he said while talking to a television channel.

Imran, he said, provided subsidy on petroleum products and made serious trouble for Pakistan’s gas and power sectors.

Giving an example, he said the PTI’s government purchased oil by spending three billion rupees and sold it at one billion rupees to gain political mileage. It was a strange story that the media has reported, he said.

“We should have a permanent solution to loadshedding besides a comprehensive system to avoid wastage of gas and electricity in the country,” he said.

All the companies generating gas and electricity through different resources should sell their products at the market rate, he opined.

Three percent residents of Pakistan are utilising 37 percent gas resources, he said, adding that maximum gas and electricity were being stolen during the high season.

About the early elections demanded by Imran Khan, he said the next elections would be held in August 2023.

“We need to have a heavy amount to make preparations for early elections, including preparing the staff for Election Commission and ballot papers,” he added. Imran Khan should wait for the next elections, he said, adding that all the political parties should play their role and work together for the progress of Pakistan.

Meanwhile, Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique Sunday maintained that people will make their decision to vote for parties on the basis of their performance as he wondered the reason behind the PTI and PML-Q’s hurry to hold snap polls.

The minister’s remarks came during a conversation with journalists in Lahore, where he challenged PTI Chairman Imran Khan to first successfully run the governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

He rubbished the PTI chief’s claims of winning the next election while taking a jibe at Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam, which hopes to retain the Punjab.

“According to them, our government is limited to 27 kms. Those who claim about the country not progressing, what have they themselves done to it?” the railways minister asked the coalition setup in Punjab.

He asserted that countries never progress if their politicians keep maligning each other.

“Why are they in a hurry?” the minister questioned the coalition setup in Punjab on its impatience on elections, hinting at fears of accountability. “They have not seen anything yet. We have suffered immensely.”

Commenting on Imran deeming the extension to former COAS General Qamar Javed Bajwa a big mistake, Saad said: “If giving an extension was a mistake, then why was it offered again.”

A day earlier, the PTI chief regretted trusting the ex-army chief and said: “Giving an extension to him [Gen Bajwa] was my biggest mistake.” Khan added that he didn’t know how he was being lied to and betrayed during his tenure.

The minister said when he was in jail pending prosecution by the National Accountability Bureau on trumped-up charges, he was offered release and chief ministership for agreeing to create a forward bloc in the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. However, Saad said, he remained steadfast in his loyalty to the party.

The minister said he had not realised the extent of damage done to the economy by the previous government until he joined the government.

“Since taking power, my colleagues and I have realised the seriousness of the crisis. The country is in a very difficult situation. I have no regrets about the no-confidence motion against former prime minister Imran Khan or the legislation by parliament to allow the extension in service granted to Gen Bajwa by the previous government,” Saad said.

The minister also announced that 46 new railway coaches had reached the country. He regretted that the railways had been grossly mismanaged over the last four years. “The railway was handed over, unfortunately, to somebody who could not even spell the word railway,” he said.