Prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi says PTI Chairman Imran Khan has confessed to being “selected”. “The hallmark of Imran Khan is that his statements from two different days do not match,” said the PML-N leader while talking to a private TV news channel on Thursday night.
“Imran Khan should tell the nation if it was the establishment that brought him to power in the 2018 elections. He may say that it was by mistake that he entered politics. It was [the] establishment that dragged me into power after [the] 2018 elections.” He said most of the PML-N leaders were put behind bars during his [Imran Khan’s] four years in power. Now, he should reveal if it was he or the establishment that made such decisions, he said.
“Similarly, national debts increased manifold in his tenure. He should tell if the establishment was responsible for this volume of debts,” he said. Imran Khan, while addressing a seminar on August 18, criticised the establishment and asked them to review their policies as there is still time left to make changes. Referring to the incumbent government, he said that the establishment imposed these “thieves” upon Pakistan.
“How did the establishment let them [the current government] rule us knowing about the foreign conspiracy? This is because they have the power right now,” said the former premier.
“No matter how much you [the establishment] call yourself neutral, the nation will blame you for imposing this government on us.” He also said, “It [the establishment] is forcing us to accept these thieves and for that, they are spreading fear among the nation.” Reacting to Imran Khan’s statement, Abbasi said Imran Khan accepted that he was “selected”. “I do not consider myself ‘selected’ as Pakistan doesn’t admit any ‘selection’ here,” he said.
The PML-N leader said he can confirm that the PML-N’s decision to take over government was the most difficult in the country’s history and it has a political price. Imran Khan should account for the money he received from foreign companies and foreign nationals, he said, adding that Khan is to answer about the 16 accounts.
“It is by the grace of Allah that neither [General Pervez] Musharraf nor Imran could prove corruption of even a penny against Nawaz Sharif in their respective eras,” he said. Commenting on a question regarding PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif walking away from a meeting on the petrol price, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi said it is true that he [Nawaz] was not in favour of ramping up the POL prices.
“But, we said the Ogra system has been in place in the country for 30 years now. We cannot nix it. Subsidising the prices is the only way round,” he explained. “But the government never subsidised fuel in the budget. Given that Pakistan is in an IMF programme which is currently being renegotiated, it wouldn’t be possible [for the government to peg the POL prices.]” Khaqan said the PML-N members express their views openly in such meetings. ‘PML-N to pay heavy price for forming govt’
Replying to a query regarding the PML-N forming the government after the collapse of the PTI government, the PML-N leader said he was against taking the government at a critical juncture like this. But the circumstances prove that the country could not have afforded a seven-month caretaker setup as it would default in days or weeks [under such a setup], he asserted.