Published On: Tue, Mar 14th, 2023
Published in Category: Islamabad

Despite defying all the courts, Imran Khan is getting ‘relief from everywhere’: PM Shehbaz

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Mian Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif sees “more burden” coming on the already inflation-hit masses moving forward as Pakistan scrambles and meets the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) conditions for reviving the stalled $1.1 billion loan tranche.

During in an interview with a private TV channel, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said that when he came into power, he and his partners were aware that the situation was very bad and that Pakistan was on the brink of default.

But what he did not know was “that Imran Khan had completely gone back on the promises he made with the IMF, and I was also not aware that [IMF’s] trust in Pakistan was also damaged to a great deal”.

The premier also said that due to Imran Khan’s repeated backtracking, the IMF is forcing Pakistan to implement the pre-conditions for unlocking the loan tranche.

“Definitely, these conditions resulted in burdening the masses and they will be burdened further. I absolutely acknowledge this,” the prime minister said, mentioning that “hardworking Pakistanis will be burdened by this.”

The prime minister also said that it was not only the IMF’s conditions that were leading to historic-high inflation but Pakistan was also being impacted due to “imported inflation”.

Since his government came into power last year in April after removing Khan from power, PM Shehbaz Sharif said the Russia-Ukraine war broke out and resulted in the increase in prices of fertiliser, oil, and other commodities that the nation imports.

“The IMF’s toughest conditions have been met and we will sign the staff-level agreement within a few days,” he said.

The incumbent premier further said that despite Imran Khan and his then-cabinet’s repeated criticism of China, the friendly nation has forwarded $1.5 billion in loans to Pakistan.

As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has been facing scores of court cases and avoiding in-person appearances, PM Shehbaz Sharif came down hard on Imran Khan for “defying courts — from the Supreme Court to lower courts”.

The incumbent premier expressed wonder that despite defying all the courts, Imran Khan is getting “relief from everywhere”.

When asked if Imran Khan’s arrest push his popularity graph up, he replied that the PTI leader has been trying his best to escape arrest till today.

PM Shehbaz also recalled that a judge was removed from his post through a “WhatsApp message” when his senior party leader Rana Sanaullah Khan was arrested in a fake case.

He went on to say that Maryam Nawaz Sharif was arrested when she arrived at the jail to meet her father and the PML-N supremo, Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, in the tenure of the Imran Khan-led government.

Replying to a question about the appointment of the incumbent army chief, the prime minister said that he made the decision about appointing Syed Asim Munir Ahmed Shah as chief of the army staff on merit.