Imran warns of default if govt stays

PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan on Sunday claimed that the country was heading towards a default with each passing day under the “imported government”.

“The PTI's demand for snap polls is not to give favour to me or my party but to avert the default by bringing political stability to the country,” Imran maintained while addressing a news conference.

He added that early or late elections would make no difference in their results as the PTI would sweep them whenever they were held.

“The PTI is the only federal party that can contest against the smaller political parties limited to their respective provinces,” Imran continued.

The PTI chief went on to compare the economic performance of his regime with that of the incumbent Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government.

Imran maintained that because of its poor performance, trust deficit and different priorities, the current government had pushed the country on the verge of an economic default.

“The country’s exports are falling at the rate of 18% per month, foreign exchange reserves of the country have fallen to a historic low, the rupee is hovering around Rs250 against the US dollar in current markets and overseas Pakistanis have pulled back their remittances because they don’t trust the current government,” the PTI chief claimed, adding that the incumbent rulers were only busy having their corruption cases closed.

“I want to make the people aware and warn them that our country is heading towards a default. If we don’t raise our voices, then Pakistan will experience something it has never witnessed before. All the funding from abroad will be stopped. The rupee will further devalue and bring another unprecedented wave of inflation,” he added.

He reiterated that the “cabal of crooks” imposed on the nation did not care about the ongoing economic crisis.

“They have been stealing money for the last 30 years. They have stashed vast amounts of money in the form of dollars abroad,” the PTI chief repeated his claims.

“But the circumstances of a default are worrying for the common man, who has his everything here. A default will be a very big loss for Pakistan. No foreign investment will come into Pakistan. No overseas Pakistani will be willing to invest in the country,” he added.

He noted that the US dollar stood at Rs178 when he was ousted as the prime minister. “Today we cannot even purchase a dollar for Rs250. Petrol was at Rs150 and now it has been jacked up to Rs234 despite a substantial reduction in oil prices in international markets,” he added.

The PTI chief claimed that when he came into power in 2018, he had inherited a fragile economy but he had turned it around, only to see his work undone by the present set-up.

“When we came into power in 2018, we had the largest current account deficit,” he said.

“When our government was ousted, the GDP growth was at 6%. These figures are usually only seen during the martial laws of [Generals] Ayub [Khan], Zia [ulHaq] and [Pervez] Musharraf. This was because [during their eras], we were receiving dollars from the US,” he claimed.

Imran maintained that both the PML-N and PPP governments had not constructed any dams but his government had initiated the development of six of them, of which two were massive.

“We launched the health card that was praised by foreign magazines. Our Ehsaas programme was internationally acknowledged. The Billion Tree Tsunami project was praised around the world. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson mentioned my name and our climate change programme at the UN,” the PTI chief highlighted the achievements during his government’s tenure.

Imran accused the media of looking the other way on important matters and instead focusing on what he claimed were trivial issues including his Toshakhana watch.

“The channels that used to bash the PTI government for inflation, they are quiet [on the issue] now and instead focusing on a watch,” he added.

The PTI chief said the inflation was in double digits and at a 50-year high now.

“Where are those media houses now? No one cares about the inflation now. When we used to say the inflation is because of external factors, no one believed us. When these ‘cabal of crooks' say the same thing, no one is questioning,” he complained.

The former prime minister claimed that the PDM government did not have a roadmap to pull the country out of the economic crisis.

“The economic situation will keep worsening if this government stays in power because there will be no political stability. The economy grows only when there is certainty,” he added.

Imran was asked if he had noticed any change in the military’s policy towards him and his party after the new army chief had taken over.

He replied that he had not seen any change so far.

“The new army chief is here and he should be given time. We have heard good things about him and we expect much from him,” he added.

The PTI chief also accused former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa of giving “NRO-2” to the current rulers.

"The first NRO [amnesty for past crimes] was granted by General Musharraf and the second one was given by the one who was in power,” he added.

Speaking about the detained PTI leader, Senator Azam Swati, Imran condemned the treatment meted out to him over his controversial tweets against state institutions and military officials.

“He [Swati] was arrested just for saying General Bajwa gave NRO to thieves. The entire Pakistan knows that he [Gen Bajwa] gave NRO-2,” he claimed.

Imran said in civilised societies, a sitting senator could not be “tortured or stripped naked” just for sharing his opinion.

Commenting on the return of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s son Suleman Shehbaz, Imran maintained that one by one all "thieves" would receive relief in corruption cases and get themselves exonerated from corruption charges.

"After [Finance Minister] Ishaq Dar, now he [Suleman] will be dry-cleaned," he added.

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