PM Shehbaz hits out at Opposition for pushing Pak to ‘destruction’

Islamabad: Describing former premier Imran Khan and his party as “liars”, Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Friday slammed the Opposition for pushing the cash-strapped country towards “destruction”.

Addressing the federal Cabinet on a day when Khan appeared before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) seeking bail in a corruption case, Sharif questioned the courts’ silence over the jailing of leaders of his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) party during Khan’s tenure.

“Did they [the courts] ever take notice when we were being sent to jail?” he asked.

The prime minister termed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party chief’s claim that a US-backed conspiracy led to the ouster of his government as “untrue”.

Sharif, the president of PML-N, said that PTI Chairman Khan and his party are “liars” and are pushing Pakistan towards “destruction”.

He asserted that more than one National Security Committee has labelled Khan’s allegations as false.

Sharif also pointed to the precarious economic conditions of the country.

“The currency is navigating through difficult times, and the challenges we inherited are contributing immensely to aggravating the situation,” Pakistani media quoted Sharif as saying.

His comments came in the wake of widespread protests triggered by Khan’s arrest from the IHC on Tuesday where he appeared for a hearing in a corruption case.

Sharif lamented the violent protests and said that such scenes had not been witnessed since the fall of Dhaka decades ago.

He recalled that protests had erupted even after the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto but no one “moved towards military installations”.

Sharif said the PTI protesters disrespected the martyrs of the country in a way that was not even done by “our enemies”.

“The attacks on army installations … there can be no greater terrorism in the country,” he said.

He claimed that the Khan’s government violated an agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the current coalition government was attempting to repair it.

Pakistan, currently in the throes of a major economic crisis, is grappling with high external debt, a weak local currency and dwindling foreign exchange reserves.

For the first time in the country’s history, the US dollar on Thursday hit the 300 rupees barrier against the local currency in the interbank as well as the open market.