ISLAMABAD: Without naming the name of Pakistan Army but in a veiled reference, Prime Minister Muhammad Shehbaz Sharif Monday said that the statement by ex-prime minister Imran Khan against a national institution was in fact a conspiracy against Pakistan and the institution, which needed to be stopped immediately to avert chaos.
The prime minister, in his address at the National Assembly, said if the situation was not controlled, Pakistan could meet a fate like Syria and Libya.
He said the same institution (army) at the target of Imran Khan’s criticism, had extended unprecedented support to Imran Khan’s government which he was now referring to as Mir Jafar.
“If it was not stopped using constitutional and legal means, it can lead to chaos. He (Imran Khan) wants to wind up the democratic system. Notice should be taken of his remarks. This should be controlled otherwise no one will be spared,” he commented.
Referring to the PTI chairman’s narrative of regime change conspiracy by the United States, the prime minister said Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington had explained that the conversation (with the US official) was threatening but it had nothing to do with any conspiracy against Imran Khan’s government.
Citing examples from history of threats to Pakistan, the prime minister said Henry Kissinger had threatened Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to roll back the nuclear program, US official Richard Armitage threatened that time Pakistan officials after 9/11 and Russia wrote a threatening letter to Yahya Khan.
“Every day, we hurl threats to India and India does the same to Pakistan. Should we call it a conspiracy?” he commented.
He said it was Imran Khan who had wished Narendra Modi to win the election in India hoping that he would be helpful to resolve the Kashmir dispute but the latter, even did not responded his call. He said the letter by the ambassador was also read out at the National Security Committee, which too, in a communique said to have found out no clue of any conspiracy.
Shehbaz Sharif criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan for his comments regarding state institutions and said that action should be taken on them within the ambit of the law and the Constitution.
Imran, while addressing a public gathering in Abbottabad on Sunday, had narrated the stories of Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq. The former prime minister had said Sirajud Daula was a governor of the Mughal emperor whose commander-in-chief, Mir Jaffar, joined hands with the English to topple the government.
He had said that his government was removed from power through “the Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs of today”. PM Shehbaz had criticised the comments yesterday and vowed to take action.
Following on those comments in today’s National Assembly session, the prime minister said Imran’s comments were “very dangerous and terrifying”. He said Imran had “directly” likened Pakistan’s institutions to Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq.
“The poison he spewed about the institution yesterday is a conspiracy against it and Pakistan. If this is not stopped through the law and the Constitution then God forbid this country will become a hideous reflection of Syria and Libya where cities present scenes of graveyards today.”
The prime minister claimed that Imran was the “blue-eyed” of the institution and “was fed milk like a child”. “Without fear I want to say that in 75 years, this institution has never supported any government or prime minister like it did Imran Khan.
“It was his misfortune that despite that he learned nothing, did nothing and did not serve the nation. There is no example found of this kind of support and nor will it be found again,” Shehbaz said, adding that if even 20 per cent to 30pc of that support was provided to the PPP or PML-N governments then “we would have had this country [taking] off as a plane flies.”
The prime minister reiterated that if Imran’s comments were not clamped down on then “nothing would be left” and there would be a crisis in the country. He lambasted the PTI chairman for taking the country in a direction where democracy could be eliminated.
PM Shehbaz also criticised the PTI government on economic fronts such as arranging oil and gas supplies, maintaining power plants, managing the fiscal deficit and taking loans. He said it had “mortgaged future generations” with the number of loans it had taken.
The prime minister also rubbished Imran’s claims about the Cablegate affair and said Pakistan’s then-ambassador to the US had himself admitted that threatening language was used in the letter but “where was this element of conspiracy conjured from?”
PM Shehbaz said threats were made to Pakistan in the past as well and Pakistan and India regularly issued threats to each other “but is that conspiracy?”.