• Admits Dar met Alvi on the latter’s desire to hold dialogue
• Says Nawaz to return from London ‘very soon’
• Minister expects additional Saudi deposit will help stabilise economy
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday ruled out the possibility of sitting with PTI Chairman Imran Khan for political dialogue, asserting that negotiations could not be initiated with a “self-centered, liar, cheater, anti-benefactor, and anti-army” person.
The prime minister, flanked by his economic wizard Ishaq Dar at a presser, categorically rejected PTI’s demand for snap polls and said let the people decide in the next general elections to be held next year who was right and who was wrong.
Finance Minister Dar, meanwhile, hinted that cash-strapped Pakistan would soon get additional deposit by brotherly country Saudi Arabia that would help stabilise the economy.
PM Shehbaz said he had asked Mr Dar to meet President Dr Arif Alvi on the latter’s desire to hold dialogue, as ‘it takes two to tango’.
“We can forget all our differences for the sake of bright future of the country, but what talks we can initiate with a person who is egoistic, liar, cheater anti-army and anti-benefactor. He [Imran] can hurt the nation for his own benefit. Now people will decide in the next elections, which will be held at their scheduled time,” the prime minister said.
“We have not put our political asset at stake, just for snap polls. Stabilising the economy is our top priority,” the PM noted.
Interestingly, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry earlier told Dawn that Mr Khan would never sit with the rulers for dialogue, though he could send his team for the purpose.
PM Shehbaz said the previous PTI government “ridiculed” his idea of a Charter of Economy and misconstrued it as a desire to seek a concessional national reconciliation ordinance-type agreement.
In response to a question, the prime minister said the PTI chief also showed a lack of gratitude to his “benefactor” ex-army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa.
He also said the new army chief was a “professional soldier, with a shining career” and expressed the hope Gen Syed Asim Munir would strengthen the institution and serve the country.Nawaz due ‘very soon’.
Responding to another query, the PM said his elder brother and party supremo, who had “millions of followers in Pakistan”, would return “very soon”.
About oil prices, he said the government discussed the matter fortnightly and made its level best not to further burden the people. “It would surely pass on the relief as it found some cushion,” he added.
‘Fake news of bankruptcy’
At the press conference, the finance minister claimed that Pakistan would soon get additional financial support from Saudi Arabia in shape of deposits. He assured the media that the country would never default economically and accused the PTI of intentionally selling this rhetoric to defame the government and the country.
“The fake news is being spread about the bankruptcy of the country by Imran Niazi, who caused the country’s economy to sink by laying mines,” he added.
The PTI government destroyed the economy during its tenure, as Mr Khan did not honour commitments he made to the international financial institutions, Mr Dar elaborated.
The economic wizard said US dollar was around Rs224 though due to smuggling, there was a difference of 13 to 18 rupees in the ‘grey market’. US dollars and wheat were being smuggled out of Pakistan, he admitted, while vowing to take action against it.
A crackdown was initiated on Friday and its results would soon be visible to people, he said.
Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2022