ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Thursday lashedout at Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan for “exploiting flood crisis for gaining political mileage and undermining Pakistan”.

The prime minister also referred to two reports of The Economist magazine that blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for blowing up a deal with International Monetary Fund (IMF) and exploiting the flood crisis for gaining political mileage.

“Two news stories published in globally respected The Economist have validated what we have been saying about Imran Niazi. In its latest issue, the magazine wrote that Niazi blew up the IMF deal and he is exploiting the disaster to score political points. He is out to undermine Pakistan,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

Later, speaking at a meeting with owners and editors of media houses, the prime minister said he had invited leaders of all political parties to strive together to overcome the disaster, but Mr Khan had opted to hold public meetings when one-third of the country was submerged under the flood water.

UAE announces $10m in relief assistance

“He (Imran) has poisoned politics and now the nation has to decide where he is taking the country. Let us do politics after the crisis; first we have to save millions of our people and economy from flood and its devastation, after this we can do politics,” the prime minister said, adding that “this is the time for service, not politics”.

“We have numerous challenges: IMF conditions, oil and gas crisis and flood which all require combined efforts of all political parties and all segments of society to rid the country of these mega crises,” Mr Sharif said.

He said when the entire nation and armed forces of the country were busy in providing relief to flood victims, Mr Khan was holding public meetings for point-scoring.

The prime minister said it was the need of the time that all political parties and stakeholders sit together by burying their differences to pool their efforts to help flood-hit people of the country.

“I recently called a meeting of all provincial chief ministers so that we chalk out the future line of action on flood situation, but some didn’t turn up. I don’t want to name them,” he said.

The prime minister also expres­sed gratitude to friendly countries and United Nations for pledging and sending aid to Pakistan.

“An air bridge has been established as aid from different countries is coming to the country’s airports, while Turkey is sending aid through the rail route,” Mr Sharif said.

“This is the biggest donation made so far at the individual level for flood survivors of the country,” a PM Office press release said.

Separately, Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, a minister of the United Arab Emirates, has announced a relief assistance of $10 million for relief and rehabilitation of flood-stricken people of Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, September 9th, 2022

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