PM Imran’s Washington speech loaded with rhetoric, populism, says Opp


–Shehbaz says it’s waste of time to talk about a premier who is unaware of public issues

–Bilawal says PM couldn’t get off his ‘container’ even when speaking abroad


ISLAMABAD: The opposition on Monday slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan for his speech to overseas Pakistanis in Washington, saying it was not suited for the event and gave a bad perception of the country in the international arena.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly (NA) Shehbaz Sharif, while speaking to the media at the Parliament House, said “it is a waste of time to talk about a premier who does not know anything about the problems of the masses”.

He said that the common man is struggling to make ends meet and the government is only focused on the politics of revenge. “Factories are shut down, laborers are unemployed, employees are being terminated, medicines are not available and inflation has surged. Pakistan is still searching for its destination after 71 years of independence, and those countries which got freedom after Pakistan have made more progress,” he added.

“We had improved things after learning lessons from the past. Charter of Democracy (CoD) was a wonderful treaty, and more parties can be included in it. Things can be improved as it is still not too late,” he concluded.

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari said that even when representing the country abroad, the selected prime minister could not get off his container.

“Pitty even when representing the country abroad Selected PM can’t get off his container. Imran is a ruler, not a leader,” Bilawal tweeted on Monday.

According to the PPP chairman, Pakistan was in need of a leader who spoke for all Pakistanis not just himself. “If the government does opposition and opposition does opposition then who is left to run the country?” he asked.

Commenting on the PM’s speech, PPP Senator Sherry Rehman claimed that Khan’s address lacked integrity, adding she was “shocked and embarrassed for Pakistan”.

“Yesterday PM’s speech in DC crossed all boundaries of poor taste and norms. Diplomats in Islamabad were shocked and embarrassed for Pakistan at this polarising talk abroad. Forget the signal to investors that Pakistan is divided and unstable, he pointed to volatility as the new normal,” she tweeted.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and former interior minister Ahsan Iqbal said that PM Imran’s address in Washington was reminiscent of his previous speeches at D Chowk.

Addressing a press conference along with other party leaders, Iqbal said that the premier had disgraced the country globally by continuing with politics of revenge and accusations. “The ‘selected’ PM appears to have no vision or experience,” he added.

Iqbal said that dictatorship has been imposed in the country under the garb of democracy, adding that character assassination of political opponents is being carried out and they are constantly being arrested. He also vowed to stand against compromises on rule of law and the Constitution of Pakistan.

He said that the incumbent government is using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to further its own interests. “Decisions made by the civilian governments had not been implemented in the past and our party would not compromise the country’s future,” he added.

Speaking about the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case being probed by NAB, the former interior minister said that Qatar had provided LNG to Pakistan at best rates when the country was going through a rough patch but the incumbent government is straining the country’s relations with its Middle Eastern ally.

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb was also critical of the premier’s address to overseas Pakistanis in Washington DC.

“The prime minister should tell overseas Pakistanis that roti, business, employment and freedom of speech are all shut in Pakistan. He should also tell them about Pakistan being handed over to the IMF,” Aurangzeb said.

She further said the prime minister should have also spoken on the rising inflation and lowering investment in the country.

PPP’s Central Secretary for Information Nafisa Shah also criticised the prime minister.

Taunting the premier, Nafisa said that the former made a unique record by giving a speech to empty chairs.

Nayar Bukhari also joined the bandwagon as he termed the address “reflection of a cancerous mind”.

Addressing overseas Pakistanis on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said opposition leaders facing corruption cases wanted an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), but he would not rest until his government recovered the looted national wealth.

He particularly referred to jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari and said they had a way out, which was simply to return the looted public money.

He announced to withdraw the A-class jail facilities from Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari and jail them along with the ordinary prisoners.