LAHORE: Despite the former army chief stressing in his farewell address that the institution has decided to stay away from politics, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday indirectly appealed to the establishment to enable early elections, as he believed that the country was fast approaching default.
“I expect from the new composition (of the army) that the national security institutions will take into account this serious state of the country’s economy in a downward spiral,” he remarked. Mr. Khan has said on several occasions that only political stability can ensure economic stability.
Speaking to the media at his Zaman Park residence, the PTI chief reiterated his claim that the country is heading towards an “economic disaster” and only fresh general elections can pull it out of this crisis.
When asked whether it was constitutionally wise to invite state institutions to intervene, Mr. Khan recounted the various steps taken by the current government and asked whether they were constitutional.
He admits that ‘Q’ is right, early elections must be secured before the assemblies are dissolved
He further acknowledged the advice of his allies in Punjab, the PML-Q leadership to ensure early elections before the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies, and the PTI leader observed that he was aware that if and when the legislatures were dissolved, the elections would be Pakistan’s commission (ECP) – which he believes is biased towards the federal government – would appoint a caretaker government, the Center would appoint its own police chief and start carrying out excesses against his party. “PML-Q’s point is right,” he added.
Mr. Khan referred to the statement of PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi, who had said a day earlier that there was no dispute between the PTI and PML-Q over the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly, adding that it would be done in the blink of an eye. eye if the PTI leader can ensure elections in the province soon after. “The decision to dissolve the Punjab Assembly should be judicious [and take into consideration] prevailing realities on the ground,” Moonis told Dawn on Saturday.
Mr Khan, however, also said on Sunday that he would complete preparations this month, following through on his earlier decision to leave both provincial assemblies. He said Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had given him all powers to dissolve the Punjab Assembly at any time.
He further said that he always knew that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari would never accept early elections as they were afraid of being arrested in corruption cases. “They are not interested in Pakistan,” he claimed. “Delay in new elections will not affect me or PTI but the country and its people.”
The PTI leader said the two politicians wanted their corruption cases closed in the light of “NRO-II” given by a “strongman” whom he had identified as former army chief retired General Qamar Bajwa a day earlier.
He lamented that PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah were acquitted in cases of corruption and other charges “under NRO-II”. Now, he added, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son Suleman has returned home to be “chemically cleaned”.
Mr Khan alleged that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government had appointed its “own people” to head the National Accountability Bureau and the Federal Investigation Agency and was out to destroy those institutions. Mr. Khan expressed his concern and claimed that these two state institutions were tasked with finding cases against him to disqualify him. He also alleged that the Chief Election Commissioner is working on a “one-point agenda” to disqualify him and destroy the PTI.
“Will this nation vote for anyone other than PTI if I don’t officially remain the party leader?”
The PTI chief also explained in detail the deteriorating state of the country’s economy with figures. He said all economic indicators were showing negative signs, including the GDP growth rate, decline in exports reflecting fewer dollars flowing into Pakistan and pressure on the rising rupee as it was not available in the open market at Rs 250 even though the official exchange rate stood at Rs.224. . He claimed that the price of the dollar was 178 rupees when the PTI government was toppled by a no-confidence vote due to a “regime change conspiracy”.
When his party was in government, Khan said big industry grew at 27.7 percent, fueling wealth creation, but now it has fallen to an embarrassing 0.4 percent.
“Why will investors come to Pakistan and set up a large-scale industry when their dollars are already growing and they know that any investment in Pakistan will go down the drain?” he asked.
Mr. Khan also lashed out at media houses, who he alleged were talking about “inflation” during the PTI government when the country was facing an international petroleum shortage crisis.
“Now oil prices in the international market have fallen from $115 per barrel to $80 per barrel, the current inflation rate has risen to 24 per cent compared to almost half – 12.5 per cent – when the PTI was in power,” he explained Mr. Khan. .
Visibly upset by reports of the sale of a wristwatch given to him by Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, the former prime minister said the media was now busy with wristwatch stories. “It was my watch, whether I sell it or not,” he exclaimed, rejecting the so-called propaganda surrounding it.
To a question, Mr Khan said he would check who was behind the registration of a case against party leader Shahbaz Gill at a police station near Lahore. He also lashed out at the PDM government over the alleged inhumane torture inflicted on party senator Azam Swati.
Meanwhile, PTI General Secretary Asad Umar announced that senior party leader Dr. Shireen Mazari coordinated and managed relations with international media and organizations in addition to her current responsibilities assigned by the client.
Posted in Dawn, December 12, 2022