Imran slams opposition for ‘circus of containers’ - GulfToday

Imran slams opposition for ‘circus of containers’


Imran Khan. File

Tariq Butt

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday harshly criticised opposition parties for what he termed “a circus on containers” aimed at evading accountability.

His comments were in reference to the recent Azadi March of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) in Islamabad, which had been joined in its early stages by key opposition leaders and their parties.

The prime minister was addressing the inauguration ceremony of the Havelian-Mansehra section of the Hazara motorway.

After dispensing with niceties and speaking about the potential benefits of the project, he turned his attention to the JUI-F’s sit-in.

“If there ever was an expert on sit-ins, he is standing right here,” he said in self reference, before mocking the opposition for giving up their protest too soon.

“I had said earlier that I would have agreed to all their demands if they could last a month on those containers. We [the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf] did 126 days,” he recalled.

He also attacked the JUI-F leadership for ‘hiding’ in the comfort of their ‘warm rooms’ while ordinary workers languished in the cold and rain.

Khan regretted the fashion in which seminary students were “brought” to the protest.

Noting that the participants had seemed unaware of any common purpose of the sit-in, he alleged that Maulana Fazlur Rehman had “used” them for personal gains.

He also criticised the JUI-F chief for “using religion” to make money, saying he “issues whatever fatwas you want him to if the price is right”.

The premier said that using religion for personal benefit is the biggest sin.

“I pray that Fazlur Rehman is spared the judgment that is waiting for him in the hereafter.”

He said opposition parties had come to Islamabad to “blackmail” the government to shut pending corruption cases against their leaders.

The prime minister, however, reiterated that would not spare “a single corrupt person” in the country.

“I will betray my nation if I do so. I do not care about votes, but I do fear God and the hereafter,” he said, adding that the country had been facing financial difficulties because of ‘corrupt politicians.’

Khan said his message to all his opponents is that his God has trained him for challenges.

“I know how to win and how to face defeat. And I know how to stand back up after I have been defeated. It is my promise to God that I will not spare a single person who has plundered the nation’s money.”

He reaffirmed his resolve to establish and maintain rule of law in Pakistan as he ruled out any possibility of a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)-like agreement for people convicted of corruption. Meanwhile, in an effort to control the damage caused by recent statements of Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Husain and his cousin Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, the party says it is an ally of the ruling PTI and will remain so.

“No conspiracy theory to create differences among the allies in the government will succeed and those behind the bid will fail. We are government allies and will remain so, God willing. None can create misunderstanding (among us),” Elahi, Speaker of the Punjab Assembly, said in a brief statement. His statement comes hours after Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s assertion that the PML-Q is no more a committed ally of the government as it had been before his Islamabad sit-in and that Elahi had endorsed the JUI-F stance when he came as an emissary of the government during the protest.

Hussain had a day earlier stated that naive advisers in the prime minister’s team were not giving Imran Khan the ‘right advice’ by urging the latter to use force for establishing the government writ during the JUI-F-led Azadi march.

The PML-Q believed that the aggressive policy could have led to a clash with the protesters and made things worse for the PTI government. These inexperienced players, one of its leaders asserted, were also keeping the allies at bay from the prime minister.

However, Punjab Governor Chaudhry Sarwar downplayed the “reservations” expressed by the Chaudhrys of Gujrat about the “naive” cabinet members, saying such differences were common among allies the world over. He declared them [the Chaudhrys] as confident allies of the government.

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