Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan and the likes of him have become “politically orphaned” after the establishment decided to remain apolitical, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said Tuesday.
In his address at a gathering in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh held to mark the 15th death anniversary of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, Bilawal said: “This is the reason why there is a hue and cry in Bani Gala, this is the reason why they have resorted to the politics of violence, and this is the reason why he [Imran] hides and addresses workers via video link.”
The PTI will keep pushing, inciting and seeking the establishment’s help, but vowed that the party will ensure that no unconstitutional move would be taken, Bilawal — the chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — said.
The establishment had decided last year that it would remain apolitical and not interfere in politics, but since then, Imran has been on maligning spree against former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, accusing him of toppling his PTI government.
“Imran, in his rallies, has been using words that are tantamount to Article 6 [treason] and inciting the establishment to help him,” the foreign minister said, asking the PTI chief to return to parliament as neither he nor his party “could bear” what’s coming to them.
The foreign minister went on to say that he did not want his political opponents to endure what his party workers had to go through. “But we also have to run the system, this cannot go on.”
Terrorism and Imran
In his address, the foreign minister also linked the uptick in terrorism to Imran’s election as the prime minister and slammed the PTI chief for trying to reason with terrorists during his tenure.
“Benazir Bhutto lost her life fighting terrorism. We also initiated operations against terrorists, but who gave this cricketer [Imran] permission to negotiate with terrorists?” he asked.
Bilawal asked upon whose authorisation the ex-PM “bowed down to the terrorists and indulge in negotiations with them”. “Who freed terrorists from jails? Who allowed terrorists to live here and neither accept the Constitution nor lay down their weapons?”
The PPP leader added: “Today, terrorism is rising once again […] as a cricketer was turned into a prime minister.”
The coalition government, he said, would use all-out measures to break the back of terrorists.
‘Act like a human being’
Bilawal also said that during the PTI’s tenure, Pakistan suffered the worst economic crisis and to save his seat, “Imran committed a suicide attack on the economy”.
He added that “for the first time”, Pakistan is facing a threat of default, but the coalition government steered clear of it.
The PPP chief also said that floods were “a doom’s day before the doom’s day”. The country suffered losses worth $30 billion during the climate catastrophe and one-third of the land was inundated, he added.
“Land extending to 5 million acres was destroyed. 50% of educational institutions in Sindh were affected,” Bilawal said, adding that had such deadly floods hit any other country, political activities would have taken a back seat, but in Pakistan, it did not happen.
He once again slammed Imran for continuing to bicker against the government and holding rallies despite the people suffering at the hands of the climate catastrophe.
The FM said countries cannot run in such a manner and asked his political opponent “to act like a human being”.