ISLAMABAD: Impervious to the opposition’s criticism over his long absence from the parliament and “running the affairs through social media,” Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday launched yet another attack on the opposition parties through his official account on Twitter over the issue of the Exit Control List (ECL).
“The majestic beauty and diversity of our land is unparalleled. Sadly, this beauty is not appreciated by our ruling elite which is why ECL is such a calamity for them,” he said in a series of tweets.
“The captivating grandeur of our land is why I would be happy just remaining confined here working for our people,” Mr Khan tweeted two days after he incurred the wrath of the opposition parties, particularly Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, over a similar tweet.
ECL is ‘calamity’ for those who fail to appreciate fascinating sights at home, says Imran
The prime minister also posted video clips of the snow-capped mountains and wildlife in the northern part of the country with his tweets. The video clips have been taken from some foreign documentaries about Baltoro glacier, the world’s biggest mountain glacier located in the Karakoram Range of Gilgit-Baltistan. The clips show rare wildlife like Markhor and snow leopard and a number of peaks, including the world’s second highest mountain K-2.
In a similar tweet, Mr Khan had indirectly criticised the PPP leaders on Thursday, the day the federal cabinet decided to remove the names of Mr Bhutto-Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah from the ECL.
“Why are some of our lawmakers so scared of ECL? Why are they so keen to go abroad? There is so much work to be done by politicians in and
for Pakistan — the land they claim to love but some cannot wait to take frequent trips abroad and lawmakers have Iqamas of residencies abroad,” he had tweeted.
In another tweet, the prime minister had said: “Can anyone explain this strange phenomenon to those of us who would be quite happy to remain in and work for Pakistan because we actually love Pakistan.”
And hours after these tweets, Mr Bhutto-Zardari while speaking on the floor of the National Assembly had responded that he wanted to reply the prime minister on his face but “perhaps, he has no courage (to come to the parliament)”.
The young PPP chairman said he did not care if his name remained on the ECL or not, freedom of movement “is not a favour, but a fundamental right.”
“Democratic governments should protect the fundamental rights of the people,” he said.
Later, a number of other opposition leaders, including PPP stalwart Syed Khursheed Shah, also severely criticised the prime minister for constantly ignoring the parliament and for, what they said, “trying to run the parliament and the country through Twitter and Facebook while sitting at his Banigala residence.”
The treasury members were unable to give a satisfactory response to the opposition’s criticism and Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Khan had simply said that the prime minister would soon come to the house and respond to the questions of the members.
Published in Dawn, January 20th, 2019