Pakistan’s foreign minister blames previous governments for inflation of essential commodities and utilities in media interaction
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government will defeat the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) if it seeks to oust Prime Minister Imran Khan via no-confidence motion in Parliament, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi said on Sunday.
Addressing media in Multan, he referred to a suggestion by Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari in which the latter had proposed ousting the incumbent government through a no-confidence motion rather than the ongoing rallies being staged by the opposition. Qureshi said this suggestion proved that the PPP leader had acknowledged that the PTI was brought into power through a democratic election. Bilawal should now stop using the term “selected” for Khan, said the foreign minister, as “no confidence motions” are a constitutional means to remove elected prime ministers.
He also maintained that the PDM lacks unity and cracks have started to appear in its ranks. The division of the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam proves this, he claimed.
To a question, Qureshi said if the opposition has “clean hands,” it has nothing to fear from the government’s probe into the Broadsheet LLC scandal. Referring to former Supreme Court judge Azmat Saeed being appointed to head the inquiry committee—to concerns from the opposition on his biases—the foreign minister claimed that they would never be happy with anyone who was investigating their alleged malfeasance. He reiterated the government’s stance that it had no role in the Broadsheet scandal, adding that the inquiry’s sole purpose was to provide clarity to the public on whose actions had caused massive losses to the public exchequer.
On the foreign funding case, pending before the Election Commission of Pakistan for over six years, Qureshi reiterated the PTI’s claims of already having submitted the details of 40,000 donors. He said the PPP and PMLN should do likewise.
To another question on the ongoing Afghanistan peace process and the new U.S. administration, the foreign minister said that both Islamabad and Washington wanted peace in the war-torn state. He said the government had repeatedly stressed that there was no military solution to the Afghanistan conflict, adding that dialogue was the only way forward. “Reduction in violence leads to ceasefire,” he said, adding that he hoped that ties between Pakistan and the U.S. would continue to improve.
Much has changed in the past four years, he said, referring to President Joe Biden coming into power four years after serving as the vice-president. “Pakistan is shifting from a geostrategic to geo-economic position,” he said.
Qureshi stressed that Kashmiris and other minorities were no longer safe in India, adding that Pakistani diplomats would not participate in ceremonies related to the Republic Day of India.
On price hikes of electricity and petrol, the foreign minister blamed previous governments, alleging that the PMLN regime had contracted costly agreements that necessitated increases to utility tariffs. He claimed the incumbent government was working to reduce inflation through “best management and delivery strategies.”