KARACHI: Responding to criticism of former prime minister Imran Khan and his allegations against ‘national institutions’, Foreign Minister and Pakistan Peoples Party chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zadari on Sunday accused the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader of trying to ‘take control’ of the military establishment by turning it into his ‘Tiger Force’ while being at PM House.
Addressing a huge crowd of supporters gathered outside the old terminal of Karachi airport to give a warm welcome to the PPP leader on becoming the youngest foreign minister of the country, Mr Bhutto-Zardari claimed that Imran Khan actually wanted to take every institution under his thumb.
Calling the former prime minister ‘Bohran [crisis] Khan’, the PPP leader said there were ‘reasons’ behind the ouster of Imran Khan and referred to his different moves which led to “collective efforts” from all political forces of the country which brought down the PTI government.
“Every single institution was under him occupation when he was [Prime Minister],” he said while addressing the welcome rally outside the old terminal leading to Sharea Faisal.
Youngest foreign minister of country accorded warm welcome at Karachi airport
“It was not only the media and parliament alone, he also wanted to turn every institution into his ‘Tiger Force’. And he didn’t end here. He turned to the judiciary, our institutions, ISI and our armed forces to make them controversial. He even wanted our establishment to support him as his tiger force.
“When he [Imran Khan] was in the government, we used to call him selected,” he said.
“But now since we are in the government, we are seeing everyday a new crisis emerging which the selected the prime minister had created. From economic to constitutional and from foreign front to environmental challenges, we are stuck under the burden of a host of crises. He deserves to be called Bohran Khan,” the PPP leader claimed.
After a brief pause during his speech for Azan-i-Isha, the foreign minister pointed out different crises his government was facing and how they could affect the people of Pakistan in the days to come.
Without going into details of the problems, he asked the rally participants to “stay united and patient for several tough decisions ahead”.
“We have two choices,” he said. “First is that we go for the short term relief for a long term pain, or we opt for the short term pain and enjoy long term relief. We have to make tough choices. But amid these tough decisions we will be found standing with farmers, labourers, students, women and common man of Pakistan. We as a nation are not bound to live in poverty. We would come out of this crisis with a unity and faith in our destiny.”
For the people’s support to the upcoming “unity government” decisions, the PPP chairman came up with an example of political leadership which chose to sit together despite ‘serious differences’ only for the sake of democratic stability, national security and economic prosperity of the country.
“Could anyone have imagined that we [PPP] would be sitting in the federal cabinet with Shehbaz Sharif serving as prime minister,” he questioned to the roar of the crowd.
“Could you have imagined that we would be sitting with the MQM [Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan] in the unity government? But we did this and shed every political difference for the cause of Pakistan. We need the same unity to come out of these crises. I believe and I have faith in you that you would be standing united in these crises and together we will witness a success very soon.”
Published in Dawn, May 16th, 2022