Minutes after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif unveiled a host of austerity measures, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan heaped scorn at the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led (PDM) government, asking rulers to bring back the country’s “looted money”.
“If you want to do something [for the country], then bring your [looted] money back from abroad,” Khan said while addressing the nation via video link from his Zaman Park residence on Wednesday.
At the same time, the PTI chief paid a tribute to his party workers and supporters in Lahore for participating in the ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ — the court arrest movement which kick-started earlier today.
The incumbent government unveiled austerity measures to save Rs200 billion — aimed to keep the country afloat as the nation buckles up to meet the International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) terms to unlock the next tranche worth $1.1 billion loan facility.
Two days ago, the lower house of parliament also unanimously approved the government’s much-needed Rs170 billion ‘mini-budget’ — a move mandatory for seeking the global lender’s loan.
Coming down hard on the PDM, a group of nine political parties, coalition government, Imran Khan said the rulers should “stop fooling people” by sharing plans to cut down the number of government vehicles and sell land. “I thought there would a big decision. [They must be] worried about the nation.”
He also reiterated the government’s promise to fix the country. “Even an enemy won’t do what has happened [in the country] in the last 10 months.” The coalition government came into power after overthrowing the Imran Khan-led PTI government through a vote of no-confidence in last April.
Lamenting the state of the economy, the deposed premier said: “Industries have shut down and people have become unemployed. You and your facilitators are responsible for this inflation.”
Reiterating his claim, Khan said that the leadership of the coalition government, after coming into power, had their corruption cases quashed.
He also thanked the people for being there when he appeared before the Lahore High Court (LHC) two days ago seeking protective bail in the case pertaining to protests outside offices of the Pakistan Election Commission (ECP). Khan was granted bail till March 3 by the provincial top court.
More to follow…