Pakistan

Frivolous comments against institutions do not suit anyone: Asif


Lashing out at former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, federal ministers Khawaja Asif and Miftah Ismail said on Wednesday that frivolous comments against the state institutions do not suit anyone.

"In Pakistan, the army chief has always been appointed on merit. Imran Khan should tell exactly when the army chief was not appointed on merit," Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said while addressing a press conference in Islamabad flanked by Finance Minister Miftah Ismail.

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Talking about the process of army chief’s appointment, Asif said that the military leadership nominates four to five most senior officers from whom the prime minister appoints the next chief or army staff after due deliberation.

Read more: Imran says 'deeply regret' comments made against woman judge

"Today, when Imran Khan is no longer in power, he is attacking the entire leadership of the army and deliberately creating doubts about the forthcoming military leadership," he added.

Asif said that relevant institutions are investigating the alleged corruption of Imran Khan and the probe into foreign funding and other cases have progressed considerably.

"All these things will come out and it won't be long before we will hold them accountable for their actions. We will take action once we have solid evidence," he added.

'Inflation rate to come down from next month'

Meanwhile, Miftah while terming the hike in electricity and petroleum prices a result of unwise policies of the previous government of PTI, hinted at slowing down the inflation rate from next month.

Read No unconditional apology in contempt case: PTI legal minds

“The nation would have to bear the higher rates for one more month,” he said.

Miftah said that Imran Khan did not follow the commitment made with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) especially with regards to subsidies on electricity, gas and petroleum products.

The finance minister said that the previous government had committed to the IMF that the government would not give any amnesty to the businessmen and subsidies on petroleum, gas and electricity but going against the commitment, the PTI government offered amnesty in February 2022. "This was the reason why the rates of electricity and petroleum products have skyrocketed now," he added.

The finance minister said the PTI government had put the country's economy on the verge of default and Pakistan was on fourth position of defaulting states.

Due to the prudent policies of the current coalition government, the country has come out of crisis, he added.

Miftah said the Imran Khan government did not work on renewable energy including solar. “Had he worked on the installation of solar energy, the rates of the electricity would be much lower now,” he said, adding that if the electricity load-shedding is reduced to zero, the prices would further increase which the government might not be able to afford.

To a question, the minister maintained that the prices of petroleum products were directly linked to the international market, therefore, he was unable to predict future prices.

He said due to floods, shortage of some commodities including tomatoes and onion was witnessed owing to which the prices increased but now they were coming down.

To another question, he said that the government was in contact with the IMF with respect to the devastation caused by the recent floods.

Replying to a question with respect to trade with India, the minister informed that the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA) was asking the federal government to allow import of cotton from India. However, the minister added, the government had not taken any decision in this regard yet.

He said that vegetables such as tomatoes and onion were being imported from Afghanistan and if the market gets stable with this import, the government would not need to import the commodities from India.

(With additional input from APP)


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