Pakistan PM Imran ‘thanks’ opposition for boosting his party’s popularity - GulfToday

Pakistan PM Imran ‘thanks’ opposition for boosting his party’s popularity


Imran Khan gestures during an event in Islamabad. File

Tariq Butt / IANS

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has “thanked” the opposition bigwigs — Shahbaz Sharif, Asif Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman — for moving a no-confidence motion against him, saying it helped his party regain popularity, Express Tribune reported.

“Our estranged party workers have returned to (PTI) after seeing their (opposition leaders’) real faces... Nations fall when they stop differentiating between good and evil,” Imran said while addressing a public gathering in Punjab’s Kamalia district on Saturday.

Calling Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) President Shahbaz Sharif a “boot polisher” and “Cherry Blossom,” the premier said that Shahbaz knows that if his government stays in power, he would be put behind bars due on corruption charges, Express Tribune reported.

He also lashed out at former premier and PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, saying he had introduced horse-trading in the country’s politics. “If he (Nawaz) returns to Pakistan, he will first attack the judiciary... He is making attempts to create rifts among the judges and he will never allow an independent judiciary to function,” Imran said.

He added that Nawaz, who has been living in London since 2019 for medical treatment, will also “target” the military after coming to power because “he wants to control all institutions” to protect himself from accountability, the report said. Imran said political leaders with offshore assets can never pursue independent foreign policy, fearing that their wealth could be seized.

“I don’t want to strain a country’s relations with any other country but there is a difference between ‘boot polishing’ and maintaining balanced ties,” he said while referring to the opposition’s criticism of his remarks against EU diplomats. On the no-confidence motion, Imran warned the opposition that his losing power was “a small price to pay” and he would go after them even if it costs him “his life.”

Lashing out at the opposition, cricket star-turned-politician said they were “buying the conscience” of members of the National Assembly for Rs250-300 million. “Through looted money, the country’s biggest thugs want to oust a sitting government,” the prime minister said, adding that it was now the nation’s duty to stand with the incumbent government against a “corrupt” opposition.

Trump card has nothing to do with army: Imran

Meanwhile, Imran has said that his much-discussed ‘trump card’ has nothing to do with the Pakistan army or sacking of its incumbent chief and appointment of his replacement, said a report.

He stressed that attacking the army and damaging it means damaging the future of Pakistan. He categorically rejected the widespread speculation that his trump card relates to a possible decision concerning the institution of the Pakistan army.

“Nothing to do with the army,” he said and explained that what he is focusing on is a straightforward matter of national morality and ethics. “It’s not about who forms the government,” Imran said, adding, “To destroy a country all that needs to be done is destroy its ethics.”

The prime minister was apparently hinting at the way his party MPs changed their loyalties and how they were shown by the media in Sindh House, Islamabad.

The premier did not precisely reveal what his surprise or trump card would be. But Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said it was a pure political thing, and nothing administrative. Referring to the speculation, Chaudhry said that the premier has the best of relationship with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

He said that the prime minister is not a conspirator, adding that the questions currently being discussed in political and media circles about the prime minister contemplating certain key appointments is simply baseless.

This is all speculation, the minister said. Instead, he quoted the prime minister as saying that the institution of the army is critically important for Pakistan and its sovereignty and therefore must be protected and not maligned.

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