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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has described former prime minister Imran Khan as “a fraudia [fraudster], a conspirator, and a liar”, who damaged Pakistan’s relations with the world’s biggest power [the USA].

Addressing a press conference here on Thursday, Shehbaz said that during the last five months the nation was confused by Imran’s narrative of a conspiracy and this conspiracy and its designers have been badly exposed following the audio leak involving the PTI chairman.

He stated that the incumbent government stood vindicated from the allegation of conspiracy following the audio leak, adding that the former prime minister, Khan, defamed the armed forces by calling them “neutral”.

Replying to questions, the prime minister said that the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff would be made as per the laid down procedure and Nawaz Sharif would come back soon.

Shehbaz tried to dispel the impression of a deal and stated Maryam Nawaz Sharif got relief from the court under the old National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law.

He said that if the former prime minister, Khan, was again allowed to come back to power, he would destroy the country and the institutions.

PM forms 12-member body to look into audio leaks deeper

About the PTI’s possible long march, he said that no one would be allowed to take the law in their hand. The prime minister said that despite the reservations about the 2018 elections, they came to the parliament as a protest for the sake of the country and saved the State by putting their own politics at stake.

He also recalled the vote of no-confidence event during which the then deputy speaker immediately rejected the motion moved by the opposition without providing any opportunity to them. Soon after the rejection of the motion, Imran Khan announced to dissolve the assembly and the president approved the summary sent to him for the dissolution of the National Assembly within 20 minutes. He said in the subsequent five months, the former prime minister used baseless allegations of a foreign conspiracy against his government and damaged Pakistan’s relationship with the world’s biggest power.

“We have solid evidence that the conspiracy was designed by Imran Niazi and the audio tape also proved that Imran Niazi has committed treason against the country,” he said. Shehbaz said Imran Khan was the “biggest liar” to hold the office of prime minister in the history of Pakistan. Sharif said that both the National Security Committee meetings have rejected any linkage of the cypher with the conspiracy. He said how unfortunate this was that two days after the audio leak and a friendly country’s ambassador came to meet him in the Prime Minister’s Office and took him to a side for talk, which reflects the concern that who would talk to the prime minister in his office after the audio leak.

The premier further stated that Imran Niazi and his fellows have created doubts in the mind of those Pakistanis who wanted to contribute for the flood victims, which was tantamount to a disservice to the country. Imran Khan is a stone-hearted man and did not do anything for the flood victims other than maligning the government.

He said that the US announced an additional $10 million for the flood victims during the foreign minister’s visit to the US which has taken the total US assistance for flood victims to $61 million and other brother countries have also contributed for flood victims.

The prime minister said that the cypher cannot be decoded and the Prime Minister’s Office copy is missing. He said that the former prime minister had given NRO to his sister during his tenure. He said that she did not declare her assets although she was on the board of NUML and SKMT. He also referred to 190 million pounds as the biggest fraud in history under the government of the former prime minister. Shehbaz said that the former prime minister had given NRO to himself.

He said that Imran wanted to appoint retired judges in accountability courts in order to give sentences to the opposition leaders although he had not been able to get any corruption against the opposition members. He said that the cabinet has decided to investigate the entire episode of the cypher and the audio leak and the relevant department would proceed on this issue as per law. The prime minister said that he ordered an inquiry against the banks involved in speculation of exchange rate and the finance minister is actively pursuing the inquiry and the results would be shared with the nation.

Shehbaz acknowledged that there is inflation/dearness in the country and the government is trying to deal with it, and after the arrival of the new finance minister the dollar has also gained strength.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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