PM Shehbaz: Even an animal does not behave the way Imran has
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday sought to replicate a model used successfully by his predecessor, former prime minister Imran Khan and reached out to new media practitioners.
In a session in Lahore on Sunday morning, he informed them of the measures undertaken by his government over the past six months to stabilize the government and economic crisis.
He also briefed them about his upcoming trip to China and its significance.
On damages caused by floods, he said that the country had suffered around $40 billion in damages and losses.
The prime minister also took a swipe at the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) long march. He said that it was in 2014 when Chinese President Xi Jinping was due to visit Pakistan to launch the multibillion dollar China-Pakistan Economic Corridor but it was delayed due to the months-long sit-in in Islamabad.
And this time again, when Shehbaz is due to visit China to discuss critical developments, that the PTI was leading another long march on to the capital.
He asked what and who would the long march benefit?
Shehbaz accosted Imran, stating that the former prime minister was willing to cause irreparable damage to the state for the sake of satisfying his ego.
The prime minister further stated that he had received backchannel messages from Imran Khan with the key matters pertaining to just a couple of points.
The first, he said, was on consultations for the next army chief and the other was a date for elections.
On the former, Shehbaz complained that when he was the leader of the opposition in the National Assembly, Imran never bothered to consult him over the amendments made to the Army Act on the extension to the Chief of Army Staff.
He added that Imran said that three names can come from him and three names can come from the government and consensus can be developed on the final name.
However, he said that constitutionally it is the prerogative of the prime minister and that there is no role of the opposition leader in it.
On the chief election commissioner’s appointment as well, he said, that Sikandar Sultan Raja’s name was not proposed by him.
Shehbaz said that he is open to dialogue with Imran, but on topics such as charter of economy.
Asked about what was illegal in the Toshakhana case, Shehbaz said that per the law there are two options that a prime minister has with regards to state gifts.
The first is to deposit them in the toshakhana and walk away.
The second is to pay a percentage of the assessed value of the gift and keep it.
However, Shehbaz said that this was the first time they had heard that a gift was retained and then sold off in the market and the proceeds pocketed.
He added that Imran went further and misdeclared his wealth to the Election Commission of Pakistan which was a crime.
DG ISI’s press conference
Asked about whether it was appropriate for Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt General Nadeem Anjum to come out publicly and appear in a press conference, Shehbaz gave a detailed explanation.
He said that Imran Khan had launched heinous attacks on the sanctity of the armed forces. When things went beyond an individual and even military martyrs were being ridiculed and then things went beyond and Imran started targeting the families of senior officers.
Using words used by Imran Khan, Shehbaz said that not even animals behave this way.
In a startling revelations, PM Shehbaz added that before holding his press conference, the ISI chief sought his permission to offer response to Imran’s statements in a constrained and measured manner and that is exactly what happened.
He added that today India was jubilant over Imran’s responses towards the ISI chief, noting that this was like playing into the hands of the enemy deliberately.
Shehbaz went on to say that Imran was like a sputtering car that requires a push to start but despite receiving a lot of pushes, it has refused to start.
He went on to suggest that Imran was a backstabber having no loyalties to anyone but himself, and pointed to how he had turned on the military even though he received more than legitimate support from the institution.