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Photo Source: Dawn

Pakistan Reader# 446, 5 December 2022

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif says Imran Khan’s politics hampering Pakistan



How Imran’s statements irked the government

Bhoomika Sesharaj

On 3 December, Imran Khan insisted that his offer to snap polls for the country was “misunderstood” and that he made it in the “larger interests of the country.” He pushed the government to “realise” that the country was heading towards defaulted risks and said that he may delay the dissolution of the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies if the government “agreed to come to the table,” and laid their interests bare in deciding general elections by the end of March 2023. 

What did the government say?
On 4 December, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif lashed out against Imran Khan for “undermining” the legacy of Pakistan for the benefit of his “own rule” and said that he had launched a “diatribe” against the government to demean the foundations of the country.  He said that Imran Khan’s remarks were aimed at “making his way to power.”  This comes after Imran Khan claimed that the extension of Gen Bajwa’s term was “his biggest mistake” which was endorsed by Asad Qaiser, the former speaker of the National Assembly who said that his extension was a “mistake.” Special Assitant to Prime Minister Atta Tarar said that PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi tried to “defame” Imran Khan by contending Gen Bajwa’s claims to support the PTI government despite Bajwa’s claims that the military would stray free from the politics of the country since February 2022. He said that Imran Khan was “the king of U-turns.”

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that he did not “see the need” to conduct early general elections as per the demand of the PTI and Imran Khan and said that the country has to b united so that no “single political party” or individual could address the situation alone. He said that the early elections would escalate Imran Khan’s agenda and that it was imperative for Pakistan to complete the five-year term despite interventions. Bhutto claimed that the coalition government was “looking” for feasible solutions to its internal problems and that it had received a “divided country” and a “collapsed economy” from its predecessor.   (“Syed Irfan Raza, “PTI chairman’s politics weakens Pakistan: PM Shehbaz,” Dawn, 5 December 2022; “Imran undermining democracy, warns PM,” The Express Tribune, 4 December 2022; “Bilawal sees no urgency for general elections,” Dawn, 5 December 2022; “Mansoor Malik, “Imran says his offer for talks ‘misread’,” Dawn, 4 December 2022)

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