ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Ahsan Iqbal has said that July 25 would forever remain seared in the memory of every single one of Pakistan’s 200 billion people as it was on this day that their mandate was stolen and a ‘selected’ prime minister was imposed on them.
Iqbal, who was flanked by the senior party leadership including lawmakers Marriyum Aurangzeb and Ayaz Sadiq, Senator Mushahid Ullah and Senator Musadik Malik while addressing a joint press conference in the National Press Club here, said that preparations were complete to observe ‘black day’ on Thursday (today), one year to the day when the PM Imran was voted to power.
“In the past 12 months, Pakistan’s economy has gone down the drain; poor policy decisions have resulted in skyrocketing inflation; and the accountability drive has been reduced to a partisan exercise,” said Iqbal.
The incumbent government has undermined its democratic credentials by launching a crackdown against the PML-N, he claimed.
“They flooded the venue of our public gathering in Mandi Bahauddin to stop Maryam [Nawaz] from addressing her supporters but they failed miserably because the PML-N has popular support,” he said, referring to the July 8 event for which the venue had to be changed. Iqbal added that high turnouts at PML-N public events showed such repressive tactics were backfiring.
Taking a dig at the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) led government’s economic performance, he said that the economic growth rate had fallen from 5.8 per cent to 3.3 per cent, while unemployment was on the rise.
“People from a cross-section of society – whether they are farmers, labourers, students or teachers – are worried because it is difficult to manage domestic expenses. Construction activities are on the wane, textile exports have declined sharply, the target for exports has been missed, the bourse has been shedding points every week including 714 points in the last week alone,” said Iqbal, adding that foreign investment has also registered a 50 per cent decline.
He also lambasted the government over its claim of media freedom. “There has been a concentrated effort to blank out coverage of PML-N activities.”
He also took a swipe at the PM over his trip to the US, referring to US President Donald Trump’s remarks that previous Pakistani governments didn’t give due respect to the White House. “Trump said this because Imran was pliant.”
Meanwhile, Senator Mushahid Ullah criticised the PM over what he said was ‘behaviour that wasn’t befitting of a head of state’, particularly the interview on Fox News.
PTI also grossly exaggerated the turnout at the PM’s public event in Washington, he added.