LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has questioned what he termed “handlers” responsible for the economic mess created by “thieves” in the last six months, while reiterating that the new army chief would should be chosen on “merit” adding that “we [the PTI government] left the economy in a stable state”.
Addressing his party’s Haqeeqi Azadi march in Lalmus via video link from his residence here on Saturday, the former prime minister said that when his government was removed, it left behind a healthy economy. Giving a comparison, he said the inflation rate hovered around 15 to 16 percent during his tenure, while under this government it is at 27 percent and the rupee has depreciated by 49 rupees against the US dollar. “Furthermore, the prices of petrol, diesel and electricity have increased under the current governments and we are expecting an unprecedented gas shortage in the coming winter season,” he added.
“Like the coalition government, we also faced pressure from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Covid-19 pandemic, but the PTI government managed to maintain economic growth and provide relief to the people. By comparison, under this government imposed by the ‘processors’, the economy collapsed; they have miserably failed to deal with the economy,” he said.
According to him, the rate of growth, tax collection, exports and remittances have decreased in the last six months and thus the country has no money to repay its loans; in fact, rulers took out new loans to repay old debts.
COAS appointment: PTI chief talks merit, meritocracy again
The PTI chief again attacked the Sharif brothers for the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He said there was a “theatre drama” going on in London where Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and others decided to appoint a new army chief in the last few days. “It is ironic that the country’s most important decision related to national security was taken abroad and also by those who have looted the country’s wealth for the last 30 years,” he claimed.
Khan asked the “handlers” again, “Do they not care about Pakistan? Do they know the consequences of imposing ‘thieves’ on this nation?”
He dismissed allegations that the appointment of the army chief had become controversial, saying he had always said that the army chief should be appointed on merit. “I don’t want to be liked by the army chief, judge, IG or NAB chief; I want the best people in these positions based on merit,” he added.
He went on to accuse the current government of appointing people to top positions. “A case in point was the appointment of Inspector General of Police Islamabad by Shehbaz Sharif; “A ‘corrupt person’ was appointed to serve the Prime Minister and thus the IG will carry out all the illegal tasks assigned by Shehbaz,” he alleged.
On the defamation case filed by Prime Minister Shebaz Sharif against a British newspaper, he said the newspaper had made serious allegations of theft by Shebaz Sharif; “The Prime Minister was wrong to be able to influence a judge in the UK to get a favorable ruling.” He observed that Shehbaz was in big trouble because he has to prove the newspaper wrong in the UK.
He reiterated that the UK and Europe do not have more resources than Pakistan, but these countries operate through a system based on equity; “the country cannot prosper until there is rule of law, democracy and true freedom. “No matter how good the policy was, no country can develop without justice,” he added.
Khan said we are witnessing a defining moment in our history. He appealed to the people to participate in PTI’s long march to Islamabad.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2022