‘We left economy in robust health,’ says Imran

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has questioned, what he termed as ‘handlers’, who are responsible for the economic mess created by the ‘thieves’ in the last six months, apart from reiterated that the new army chief should be chosen on ‘merit’, adding that “we [the PTI government] economy in robust health”.

Addressing the participants of his party’s ‘Haqeeqi Azadi march’ at Lalmusa on Saturday through a video link from his residence here, the former prime minister pointed out that when their government was removed, it left behind a healthy economy. To give a comparison, he said that the inflation rate hovered around 15 to 16 percent during his tenure, while under this government it touches 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 rulers and we are also looking at unprecedented gas shortages during the coming winter season,” he added.

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“Just 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 grow the economy and bring relief to the people supply. In comparison, under this government, imposed by the ‘handlers’, the economy took a nosedive; they have failed miserably in handling the economy,” he said.

According to him, the growth rate, tax collection, exports and remittances have decreased in the last six months and therefore the country does not have the money to repay its loans; in fact, the rulers took out new loans to repay old debts.

COAS appointment: PTI chief again talks about merit, meritocracy

The PTI chief again attacked the Sharif brothers over the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He said that a ‘theatre drama’ was taking place in London where Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and others were deciding on the appointment of a new army chief in the past few days. “Ironically enough, the country’s most important decision regarding national security was taken abroad and that too by those who looted the state’s wealth in the last 30 years,” he claimed.

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Khan again asked the ‘handlers’, “don’t they have any concern for Pakistan? Do they know the implications of imposing ‘thieves’ on this nation??”

He denied claims that he had made the appointment of the army chief controversial by saying that he had always said that the army chief should be appointed on merit. “I don’t want an army chief, judge, IG or NAB chief to my liking; I want the best persons in these positions based on merit,” he added.

He went on to accuse the incumbent government of appointing people of their choice to top posts. “The appointment of Inspector General of Police Islamabad by Shehbaz Sharif was one such example; A ‘corrupt person’ has been appointed to serve the prime minister and so the IG will do every illegal task given by Shehbaz,” he alleged.

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On a defamation case filed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif against a British daily, he said that the newspaper made serious allegations about Shehbaz Sharif’s theft; “the Prime Minister was mistaken that he could influence the judge in the UK to get a favorable judgment”. He observed that Shehbaz was in deep trouble as he has to prove the UK paper wrong.

He reiterated that resources are no more abundant in the UK and Europe than in Pakistan, but these countries operate on a system based on justice; “The country cannot prosper until the rule of law, democracy and true freedom exist. “No matter how good the policy was, no country can develop without the rule of justice,” he added.

Khan said we are witnessing a defining moment in our history. He invited the people to participate in the PTI’s long march to Islamabad.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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