Establishment has authority but civilian govts get blame for crises: Imran Khan

Former Pakistan Premier Imran Khan

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that a democratic government is held responsible for any crisis, but the authority lies with the establishment.

“Such an arrangement cannot run anymore,” he warned while addressing the ‘Rule of Law’ conference, held here on Friday.

Citing enormous economic and political challenges faced by the country, the PTI chairman blamed former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, claiming the uncertainty started the day his government was overthrown.

“Due to the decision of one person, the PTI-led government was toppled and the crisis started,” the former prime minister said. Khan was ousted from power through a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly in April last year.

Without naming Gen (retd) Bajwa, he said: “One person decided to change the [PTI] government and hatched a conspiracy.”

The coalition government, he said, had failed to tackle the economic crisis as “it does not have any plan” to restore the economy.

The PTI chief said that never in the country’s history had Pakistan faced a worse economic crisis than the one it “faces these days”.

The former premier said that the ongoing crisis in the country could only be averted if it was governed through the rule of law. He said the root-cause of the prevailing troubles facing Pakistan currently was that it had been run by two corrupt families in sheer violation of law.

Despite being the former prime minister, he said he was unable to get a case registered on his complaint, adding that it was a clear indication how justice was denied to the people here.

The PTI chairman said the ruling alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), after coming to power, had quashed all cases registered against its leaders. Never before, Imran said, the country had witnessed such a critical phase and the corrupt mafias were brought to power through the conspiracy of regime change.

“Even Bangladesh had moved ahead of Pakistan in terms of progress and we are nearing Sri Lanka-like situation,” Imran said and urged the lawyers community to play its role in saving the country. He said in the upcoming days, the legal fraternity would have a role to perform in protecting Pakistan from troubles.

Imran Khan, while grilling the central government, said it had moved from pillar to post to get money but no country had come forward to extend unconditional support. He said the rulers were living on the hope that China or Saudi Arabia would come to their rescue if they pleaded about flood devastation or any other issue. In Geneva, he said the entire government went to attend the conference where it pleaded that Pakistan was hit by climate change, but no one came forward for their help.

Until the 1990s, Pakistan’s economic indicators remained largely positive in the Subcontinent, the PTI leader said, adding that no one could have imagined that the “country’s economy could fall to such levels”.

Referring to the deepening economic crisis, Khan said the country’s reserves had fallen to a historic low, adding we do not have money to open the Letters of Credits (LCs).

“No one is ready to give funds to Pakistan,” he further said.

Saudi Arabia, Imran said, had promised aid with strings attached to it. He said being the prime minister, he did not visit foreign countries that much like the present rulers had visited. Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, he said, was not available to anyone in Pakistan. The PM, Imran added, had become a laughing stock in the hands of Indian media as Shehbaz Sharif was giving an impression that all the mistakes had been done on part of Pakistan.

Imran Khan, citing an example from the Islamic history, said the state of Madina was founded on the principle of equality and rule of law prevailed there. He said it was mandatory upon us to lead the life in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) will come to rescue Pakistan only when its conditions are accepted, the deposed prime minister said. He, however, added that inflation would further rise in the country if the conditions of the international lender were “accepted”.

“The prices of petrol and diesel will surge if the Pakistani currency is devalued against the US dollar.”

Imran Khan said, “Notorious dacoits were brought to power under a conspiracy. Major dacoits are given key posts in the country.” Amendments were made to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws to end cases against the rulers.

He claimed former president Gen Pervez Musharraf gave them NRO-I and later ex-COAS Gen Bajwa gave them NRO-II.

Khan once again criticised the state machinery for the torture of PTI Senator Azam Khan Swati, allegedly in front of his grandsons and granddaughters. He added that the senior lawmaker was humiliated just because of one tweet.

Talking about the problems being faced by the former premier to lodge an FIR about the assassination attempt on his life even when his government was in power in Punjab, Khan asked: “Who is blocking justice?”

The JIT tasked with probing the assassination bid on my life is being sabotaged, he added.