There should be no doubts about whether Prime Minister Imran Khan will complete his five-year term in office, said disqualified Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf lawmaker Jahangir Tareen on Sunday.
Talking to media after the Polo Cup final in Lahore, Tareen said the opposition’s claims that they would force the ouster of Khan were figments of their imagination. “The opposition is living in a fool’s paradise [if it believes P.M. Khan will resign]. They keep trying to pressure the government because of Khan’s accountability drive,” he said, reiterating the PTI-led government’s longstanding view that all its troubles are because of invested “mafias” that do not want corruption eradicated. “They [the opposition] only wish to save their money and will try other things as well. All their conspiracies will be defeated,” he added.
To a question, Tareen rubbished any “minus-Imran” formula, saying the PTI was indistinguishable from Imran Khan. “The PTI exists because of Imran Khan and the prime minister cannot be removed through any minus-one formula,” he said. “However, Maryam Nawaz risks becoming [politically] redundant,” he added, claiming former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s sons were sufficient to look after his ailing health and Maryam’s presence was not required for it. The comparison appears to elevate Maryam to Khan’s level, despite her not holding any public office, and seems to position Khan as prime minister second, and PTI leader first.
A day earlier, on Saturday, the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) had said that an interim setup needed to assume power in the country prior to fresh elections. The party’s secretary-general, Ahsan Iqbal, told private broadcaster Geo News that a prime minister dedicated to economic and electoral reforms was required to pull Pakistan out of its current crisis.
“Pakistan’s economy is tanking because of Imran Khan. The PTI is also going down because of him,” Iqbal said, warning that even six more months of Khan’s leadership would be devastating for the country. “Imran Khan is lying about the economy. Inflation is at its worst. Traders are worried sick,” he added.
Tareen, meanwhile, also weighed in on the Supreme Court ruling directing the government to enact legislation over the extension to the tenure of Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa. He said the party was still waiting on the detailed judgment, adding the government would then decide whether it wants to seek a review or proceed with legislation.
The PTI leader rejected a question by a reporter over whether Prime Minister Imran Khan had ordered a sealing of details of the £190 million settlement between Malik Riaz’s family and the United Kingdom. “There is no truth in this. When a civil deal is reached in Britain, they require its contents to not be disclosed. These are not the prime minister’s instructions; it is a condition set by Britain,” he said.
The Supreme Court disqualified Tareen from contesting the 2018 general elections for mis-declaring his assets before the Election Commission of Pakistan. He continues to be a major powerbroker for the party and has been credited with helping it secure the majority needed to form government in Punjab province.