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‘Imran to face legal action over anti-state speech’

Shehbaz Sharif says China was angry with Imran for ordering forensic audit of CPEC projects

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Sunday termed Imran Khan’s Abbottabad address a grand conspiracy against Pakistan.

In a statement, the premier said those concocting a narrative against national institutions were the real Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq. He said the state, constitution and respected institutions of Pakistan were challenged by Imran Khan in Abbottabad on Sunday. He assured that legal action would be taken.

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Shehbaz said what Imran was doing could only be categorised as a conspiracy, not politics, and this conspiracy was not against any political rival but against the country.

“Pakistan cannot be surrendered and compromised over one person’s ego, arrogance, and blatant lies. Imran first conspired to destroy economy of the country and was now planning to trigger civil war in Pakistan,” he said.

The PM pledged that the nefarious designs of Imran would be crushed at all cost. He alleged that the PTI chairman wanted Pakistan to face the same fate as Libya and Iraq.

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Meanwhile, Shehbaz Sharif claimed that China was angry with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan because the former prime minister had ordered forensic audit of some projects under the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

Talking to a delegation of Council of Pakistan Newspapers’ Editors (CPNE), which had called on him, Shehbaz said Imran Khan “destroyed the CPEC in four years of his government”.

He, however, said his government would expedite work on multi-billion dollars projects. He said he would discuss with Beijing the framework to accelerate work on CPEC on getting an opportunity (to meet the Chinese president or prime minister).

Not only China, other friends of Pakistan, including Saudi Arabia and Turkey, were also unhappy over Imran Khan, the premier said. He said the PTI’s former government alienated Islamabad on the foreign policy front. He added that the US was not the enemy of Pakistan, reaffirming to maintain ties with all brotherly nations and other countries on basis of mutual respect and interests.

The PM accused the former ruling party of laying landmines for his government on the economic front. Knowing the PTI government could not survive, the former PM froze the oil prices, he said, adding that now when the prices in the international market were going up, the government’s hands were fastened. He said he had requested Saudi Arabia for assistance during his visit to Riyadh and now it was up to them (KSA) to make a decision on Islamabad’s appeal.

The prime minister said the government was taking all possible measures to ensure power generation and its supply, so that public woes could be addressed. The said the previous government had doubled the country’s debt and made the lives of the poor miserable.

He said his government was making efforts to provide basic necessities of life including flour, health treatment and medicines at subsidized rates.

He observed that electoral reforms were a must for holding transparent elections in the country.

Shehbaz said the government had no intention to put any restriction on freedom of media and expression. A day after the government ordered the Federal Investigation Agency to withdraw appeal from the apex court against Islamabad High Court order on PECA ordinance, the PM was quoted as saying the government would take action against those FIA officers who filed the appeal (without approval of the government.)

He assured that journalists would be provided with all possible protection against unwarranted actions under the PECA ordinance and other related laws. He said the Ministry of Law had already been tasked with reviewing the PECA ordinance.

Praising the CPNE role for the freedom of media, strengthening of democracy, and evolution of democratic institutions in the country, the prime minister said the government was keen to engage constructively with the CPNE and other media representative bodies for the protection of rights of journalists and promotion of responsible journalism in the country.

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