Imran undermining democracy, warns PM

Shehbaz says PTI chief's diatribe against parliamentary democracy aims at making his way to power


Our Correspondent December 04, 2022
PHOTO: FILE

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ISLAMABAD:

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif criticised Pakistan Tehreek-e- Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan, accusing him of “undermining” democracy in the country just for making his way back to power again.

In a tweet a day after the PTI chairman lamented that the coalition government had rejected his offer for talks, the prime minister noted that Imran’s recent diatribe against parliamentary democracy was the latest in a series of attacks that flew in the face of how democracy functioned in modern nation-states.

“Imran’s recent diatribe against parliamentary democracy is the latest in a series of attacks that fly in the face of how democracy functions in modern nation-states. His politics is aimed at making his way to power even if it means undermining foundations this country stands on,” the prime minister said.

Imran, who announced on November 26 that he would dissolve the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies, softened his stance and struck a conciliatory tone last week, signalling his openness to “sit and talk [with the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders] for a date of the next general elections”.

However, while making the offer he had also threatened to dissolve the Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) assemblies. On Saturday, Imran lamented that the coalition government had rejected his offer for talks and directed lawmakers to “start preparing for elections”.

Meanwhile, government ministers called out Imran on Sunday for his comments in recent interviews. “He [Imran] is a person who says every day that he made a mistake. ‘Going to Russia was my mistake, the army chief’s extension was my mistake’,” Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique told a press conference in Lahore.

“If you committed one mistake and we consider the extension a mistake as Khan sahab is saying, so why did you feel the need to offer an extension again,” he added, referring to Imran’s earlier statement to let Gen Bajwa continue until a new government came to appoint the new army chief.

The railways minister alleged that Imran had not only made the offer behind “closed doors” but also said on television that a new government should appoint the next army chief. “What did that mean? It meant that … the present army chief [at the time] would continue.”

Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal said in a tweet that Imran, through his interviews, was “creating a drama of being deceived by the establishment”, adding that “everyone knows the reality” of how the establishment “helped” the PTI come to power in the 2018 general elections.

“In interviews, Imran Niazi is now playing the game of being tricked by the establishment. Everyone knows this fact that in 2018 [elections] the RTS system was brought down to bring them [the PTI] to power after being exposed,” Iqbal said.

“They did their best to make them [PTI] successful, covered up their inadequacies, permitted them to strangle the opposition and the media… But when Niazi Sahib continued to fail and his damage became unbearable for the establishment, they decided to distance themselves from him,” he added.

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