LAYYAH (Punjab): PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday accused PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal of using intelligence agencies to pressure and extract an apology out of a family that had heckled him at a restaurant last week.
Iqbal, the minister for planning and development, was jeered by the family on Friday night when he was out in public. Viral videos of the incident circulating online showed women and teenagers chanting anti-government slogans and hurling abuses at the minister, loudly calling him “chor”.
Days later on Sunday, Iqbal said that the family had come to meet him and also apologised for their actions.
Addressing a rally in Layyah as part of canvassing for the by-elections on 20 seats in Punjab due on July 17, Imran addressed the incident, as he branded Iqbal “shameless and coward” for “pressuring the family through agencies to tender an apology.”
The ex-PM said he would continue calling Iqbal and his leaders as “dacoits” as the “incumbent government had used its authority to get reprieve in Rs1.1 trillion corruption cases.”
Imran, in reference to the July 17 by-polls, said a “big change” was around the corner that will put to bed the “[political] future of turncoats”.
He asked PTI workers and supporters to canvass diligently, saying the country would have no future if the current rulers were re-imposed on the country in the by-elections.
He urged his followers to prevent the government’s plans of rigging the elections by “keeping a watch on polling stations”.
“Their Mr X who is based in Lahore is meeting Maryam and Punjab CM Hamza to temper the election results and bring these back to power,” Imran alleged.
‘PM Shehbaz must reduce petrol price to prove his claims’
The PTI chief asked Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to reduce the prices of petroleum products in line with the dip in crude prices in the global market.
“Today, the price of oil are much lower in the global market so you (the PM) should bring down the petrol price to Rs150 per litre and diesel to Rs144 per litre,” he demanded.
He also called out the government for raising the tariff of electricity to Rs35 per unit “contrary to the rate of Rs15 per unit during the PTI rule”.
Earlier, addressing in Lodhran on Monday, Imran Khan on Monday urged his workers and supporters to defeat the “turncoats” as well as the “nexus” of the Election Commission of Pakistan and the PML-N by voting for his party in the upcoming by-polls in Lodhran.
Towards the start of the speech, Imran rued the situation in Karachi, where at least five people have been killed due to relentless rainfall that has submerged several areas of the city and left many without power.
He accused the Sindh government of being unprepared to deal with the monsoon rains, unlike the PTI’s former government in Punjab under Usman Buzdar.
Imran said the Buzdar administration had installed underground water tanks to store rain water and prevent it from causing urban flash floods.
He said same could not be done in Sindh due to “corrupt” elements such as PPP leaders Asif Ali Zardari being in charge. “Sindh can’t progress until he (Zardari) is there,” Imran said.
The PTI chairman said that during his government there were corruption cases ready against Zardari and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah. He said the duo were prevented from getting the punishment they deserved by “those who had [the real] power”.
He branded PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal the “lying Aristotle” and targeted his speech where he had suggested that “corruption doesn’t impede economic development, but instability and policy reversals do.”
He talked about the recent incident where Iqbal was heckled at a restaurant and slogans of “chor (thief)” were chanted against him. Imran said Iqbal’s hecklers were not misbehaving but merely “telling the truth”.
Imran slammed the incumbent government’s narrative on inflation from the time when it was in the opposition and his party was in power. He made a comparison of food and energy prices during his government and now, claiming that it was proof that the narrative built against him was hollow.