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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) on Thursday reacted sharply to Prime Minister Imran Khan’s address to the nation and termed this as a “failed” attempt to save his government.

Speaking at a news conference after Prime Minister Khan’s address to the nation, senior PML-N leaders including Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Khawaja Asif, Ahsan Iqbal, and Khawaja Saad Rafique rejected the prime minister’s remarks about the no-confidence motion against him being a “foreign conspiracy”.

Asif said that the prime minister in his address named the United States to be behind the alleged “conspiracy” against him, adding that if the US was involved in any such “conspiracy” it should have stopped supporting Pakistan in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and on other fronts.

“You continue to take the IMF tranches. If the US was behind any such alleged conspiracy, the IMF and the World Bank would have stopped giving loans to Pakistan. And Pakistan would have gone from the FATF grey list to its black list…You are standing on the ventilators provided by the United States,” he said, adding that if all these facilities including the GSP Plus by the EU are there and had not been cut off, then there is no indication of enmity towards Pakistan.

He questioned as why the “threat letter” was not made public earlier as it was received on March 7. “But it’s not a threat letter but an official communication by our ambassador,” he stated, adding that why the prime minister waited for the whole three weeks and talked about it when he is facing the no-confidence motion.

“If the US wants it can harm Pakistan’s economy to the extent that we will not be able to pay the bills of our fuels…He [Imran Khan] has become dangerous and he is now causing damage to our national interest,” he maintained.

He said that the communication through the “letter” was made on March 7 and the government hosted the US Under Secretary of State on March 21 in the OIC Council of Foreign Ministers despite, the fact that the US has no relevance with the OIC.

Referring to the no-confidence move, he said that the joint opposition has planned to send him packing and he would be given no “face-saving”. “He [Prime Minister Imran Khan] is trying to save his chair through these tactics. There is no foreign conspiracy behind the no-trust move. He also named the US in his address and I understand that this address did not serve any national interest,” he said, adding that the “letter” has no other motives behind it other than “political gains”.

About the National Security Committee meeting, he said that all the three services chiefs and the ISI chief attended the meeting. “The meeting should have been convened on March 8 or 9, if there was any foreign conspiracy against the country,” he added.

He further stated that Pakistan wants good relations with all the countries in the region and beyond, adding that these relations should not be harmed for “personal gains”. He also asked the prime minister to avoid bringing religion in politics.

Abbasi, in his remarks, alleged that the prime minister after losing majority in the National Assembly has also “lost his mind.” He said that the opposition in Thursday’s session of the National Assembly proved its majority.

“In his address, he did not touch upon a single issue of the people, but levelled baseless allegations as usual. He is trying to get an “NRO” and he would fail to get any,” he maintained.

Ahsan Iqbal alleged that the prime minister has become a “security threat” by putting Pakistan’s interest at stake for his “personal motive”.

He said that the opposition presented 177 members in the National Assembly on Thursday. He further accused the prime minister of making attempts to create divisions within the institutions and make them controversial through retired military men of his party. He said that the country is facing diplomatic isolation due to the failed foreign policy of the government, besides worst economic crisis. Khawaja Saad Rafique also lashed out at the prime minister for his criticism over the opposition and its leadership.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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