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No ‘Deal’ for the Opposition, Vows Imran Khan

by Newsweek Pakistan

File photo of Prime Minister Imran Khan. Aamir Qureshi—AFP

Pakistan’s prime minister claims he can end the Pakistan Democratic Movement to oust his government by agreeing to a ‘NRO’

Ruling out chances of agreeing to any “deal” with the opposition, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday reiterated his claim that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM)’s sole motive was to secure freedom from ongoing corruption cases.

During a meeting with government spokespersons a few days ahead of the PDM’s inaugural rally in Gujranwala on Oct. 16 (Friday), Khan continued his criticism of opposition parties—an everyday practice that has continued unabated throughout his tenure as premier. According to local media, he claimed that the only reason the government was allowing the opposition to stage its protests was to prevent it from alleging “political revenge” from the incumbents at a later date.

“They can hold jalsas or stage dharnas, no one will give them an NRO,” he said, referring to the National Reconciliation Ordinance under which former prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto had ended their self-exiles during the tenure of military ruler Gen. Pervez Musharraf. “If the government gives them an NRO, there will be no movement,” he claimed.

The prime minister also directed government officials—an order that was faithfully fulfilled later by Adviser to the P.M. on Accountability Shehzad Akbar—to raise public awareness of the previous government spending Rs. 2.5 billion in development funds during the 2017 NA-120 by-elections. Late PMLN representative Kulsoom Nawaz had defeated current Punjab Health Minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid during those polls.

This isn’t the first time the prime minister has lashed out at the opposition’s upcoming protest movement. Earlier this week, he claimed “peaceful protests and rallies” were their right, but warned that any attempts to sow hatred would be met with a swift response from the government.

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