Imran lashes out
at govt over massive
depreciation in
value of Pak rupee

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ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has strongly criticised the federal government over the massive depreciation in the value of Pakistani Rupee against the US dollar.

PTI’s Chairman Imran Khan

On Twitter, the former premier pointed out, “When US regime conspiracy [Vote of No-Confidence] was tabled [dollar] was at Rs 178.” According to Imran Khan, the Rupee has fallen to 224 against the US dollar despite the agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The economic meltdown shows Sharifs never had any expertise in running the economy or administration. Their only expertise is looting, money-laundering [and] getting NROs, the PTI chairman added. He further said that the nation will hold accountable all those responsible for regime change conspiracy and bringing Pakistan to this sorry state of affairs.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan called again Monday for an early national election after his party seized control of the state assembly in Punjab, the country’s most populous province.

Punjab Assembly – seating chart

20 seats were up for grabs in the by-election, which was seen as a popularity test for the former international cricket star dismissed by a no-confidence vote in April.

His Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won 15, with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif taking four, and one going to an independent.

Sunday’s vote was also seen as a bellwether for national elections that must be held by October next year, although Khan has campaigned across the country for an earlier poll since being dismissed.

“The only way forward from here is to hold free and transparent elections,” Khan tweeted early Monday after the Punjab votes were tallied.

“Any other way will only lead to increased political uncertainty and further economic chaos.”

Khan has drawn thousands to rallies since being ousted, giving lengthy speeches claiming the government was imposed on Pakistan by a US-led conspiracy.

He also blames the current government for soaring inflation, although most analysts agree Sharif inherited the country’s economic woes — which were given some relief last week by an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to resume a rescue package.

The newspapers suggested the Punjab result was a consequence of the economic hardships currently felt by the country, which is spending nearly half its income to service dire foreign debt.

To meet IMF conditions for a resumption of a $7.2 billion aid package, Sharif had to remove subsidies on fuel — effectively raising prices by more than 50 percent in less than two months.

The Punjab Assembly vote was called after the election commission disqualified 20 members of the PTI for switching party loyalties.

The result means the likely end of a short reign as Punjab chief minister by Hamza Sharif, the prime minister’s son.