LAHORE: Amid an increase in the number of attacks by militants in parts of the country, federal Minister for Economic Affairs Ayaz Sadiq on Sunday blamed former prime minister Imran Khan for the resurgence of the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP).
While referring to rise in terror attacks and the dialogue with the banned outfit initiated by the PTI government last year, the PML-N leader said the nation had seen the result of Imran Khan’s strategy of opening talks with the Taliban.
“Imran Khan (while in power) did not curb terrorism. Rather he allowed negotiations with those who had martyred children at the Army Public School (in Peshawar). And now a new wave of terrorism has begun because of those negotiations.”
The former speaker also urged former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa to reveal his “role” in the 2018 general election in “ensuring” the victory of the PTI. He said the Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) representatives said they were under pressure in 2018 to join the PTI.
He said the support extended by Mr Bajwa to Imran Khan when he was prime minister had never been given to any other premier in the past. But, the PTI chairman is “ungrateful to his benefactors” as he was now maligning the ex-COAS. He said Mr Khan did the same thing to Aleem Khan and Jahangir Khan Tareen.
He advised Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi to remain “vigilant” while doing favours to Imran Khan since his “characteristics cannot change as I know him since the 1960s”.
Mr Sadiq lambasted the PTI chairman for using the religious card in politics, abusing and victimising rivals, as well as preferring his personal interest over national interest.
“The one who had been talking of the state of Madina committed corruption by taking away gifts from Toshakhana worth Rs6 billion, declaring one of them (in his tax statement) and devouring the rest. The claimants of the Madina state would neither steal nor conceal (one’s wealth).”
He lamented that Imran Khan always foul-mouthed PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who always addressed the PTI chairman decently. He alleged that Mr Khan got spying cameras installed even in the bathrooms of the jail where Maryam Nawaz Sharif was imprisoned.
The PML-N leader said those who brought Imran Khan to power were responsible for the financial damage caused to the country during the around four-year rule of PTI as the national debt doubled in the PTI regime, which took $44 billion in loans.
In reply to a question, he said while listening to the conversation between Parvez Elahi and his son Moonis Elahi one “gets the impression that the PML-Q got just 20 seats” in return for a promise to dissolve the Punjab Assembly at the directives of Imran Khan.
He, however, cautioned the ‘Q’ leadership that the crutches available during the 2018 polls would be missing in the next general elections and they as well as the PTI would have to stand on their own legs.
Referring to U-turns often taken by the PTI chairman, he said on one hand Imran said that he would fight his political fight on his own, and on the other, he was requesting the establishment to intervene and save him from likely accountability.
In response to a question, the minister said if the PTI chairman intended to dissolve the Punjab and KP assemblies he would have done so at once after the announcement during a Pindi rally in November.
Answering a question, he said if the coalition in Punjab had the backing of the required number of MPAs to remain on his post then why was Mr Elahi trying to delay the trust vote.
He said that local government elections would be held in the month of April, while the general election would be held after Aug 15, 2023, when the assemblies would complete their five-year constitutional terms.
Published in Dawn, December 26th, 2022