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Opp flails a cornered PM

Bilawal says PM has lost, his govt's time is up

Responding to a televised address to the nation, the Opposition on Thursday berated Prime Minister Imran Khan for not fulfilling a single promise and “enslaving” the country to foreign institutions.

The Opposition leaders’ comments came shortly after the premier addressed the nation, where he claimed the opposition was acceptable to foreign powers as they were “corrupt”, but he is not bearable to them. Speaking on a TV channel’s show, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said: “He (prime minister) has lost and his government’s time is up.”

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Bilawal, referring to the premier, said he does not listen to “the former prime minister’s” speeches as now, even the people are aware of his “lies.” The PPP chairman said the prime minister has not fulfilled a single promise during his tenure and enslaved the nation to the International Monetary Fund (IMF). He blamed PM Imran Khan for sabotaging the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).

“In his three years, he pushed the country towards destruction instead of bringing about the promised change (tabdeeli).” The PPP chairman said the prime minister has witnessed his defeat and knows that there is no way to escape – as the voting on the no-confidence motion against him takes place four days from now, on Sunday. Bilawal, talking about Thursday’s National Assembly session where the Opposition’s count stood at 175, said: “We have proven that the prime minister has lost majority.”

Later, three top PML-N leaders – Khawaja Asif, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and Khawaja Saad Rafique – gave their party’s response to the PM’s address as well. Former foreign minister Khawaja Asif stated that the “lettergate” controversy was being turned into a political issue. Asif claimed that the foreign funding case against the PTI showed that “non-Muslims” used to fund him. He added that India and Israel used to fund the former prime minister. “Now he is using the religion card,” said Asif.

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The PML-N leader said the country’s military leadership was in a meeting with him on Thursday, but when the government received the letter, the prime minister did not inform them. “He did not tell anyone anything and started flashing the letter in a rally,” Asif said referring to the prime minister’s address to a PTI jalsa in Islamabad on March 27. Asif said Pakistan wants good relations with the international community – be it the Middle East, Europe, or United States.

“If America wants, they can make financial issues for us […] the vent that Pakistan is on is due to the US. We have to move towards self-reliance but it will take time,” Asif warned.

“He took the United States’ name in his address, his address was against the national interest,” Asif said. Asif said PM Imran Khan had become “dangerous” now as he cannot face the Opposition in National Assembly anymore.

Taking over the presser, Abbasi said the Opposition benches were in majority and ready to oust the incumbent government. He asked the prime minister to resign while he still could.

The former premier said Pakistan is a country of 220 million Muslims. “Have you served Islam by hurting the country’s people?” he asked.

JUI-F spokesperson Aslam Ghauri, meanwhile, alleged that the conspiracy against PM Imran Khan was hatched in Banigala, Multan, and Pakpattan. “Imran Khan is facilitating enemies of the country since day one,” alleged the JUI-F spokesperson. He added that labelling the no-confidence motion a conspiracy was a “joke of the century”. “Conspirator and Pakistan’s enemy Imran Khan made his intentions public by fabricating a letter,” said the JUI-F spokesman. Responding to a question by a journalist at the Parliament House, PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari said that there is no need to see the so-called letter PM Khan has been talking about “as it is fake”. Imran and his mandate are both fake, he claimed.

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