I would be more dangerous if forced to step down, Pakistan PM Imran Khan warns Opposition

He accused the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz chief of evading cases of corruption by not responding to allegation charges

Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on January 23 warned the Opposition parties that he would be more dangerous if they forced him to step down as he ruled out granting any concession to them.

Responding to a question about the planned long march by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) on March 23 during live calls by the public, Mr. Khan said that the move would fail.

"If I take to the streets, then you (opposition parties) won’t find any place to hide,” Mr. Khan said, adding that he would be more dangerous if forced to step down.

The PDM – an alliance of nearly a dozen opposition parties – was formed against the Pakistan Army’s interference in politics and installing "puppet" Prime Minister Khan through a "manipulated" election.

PDM President and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl head Maulana Fazlur Rahman has announced that the opposition parties would launch a long march towards Islamabad on March 23 to rid the nation of the "incapable and illegitimate" government of Imran Khan.

Mr. Khan also slammed the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and refused to have any interaction with him.

"I get called out for not meeting Shehbaz as he is the Leader of the Opposition. (But) I see him as the nation’s criminal," he said.

He accused the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief of evading cases of corruption by not responding to allegation charges.

Mr. Khan said that the entire Sharif family would end up fleeing to London where Nawaz Sharif and his two sons were already living.

To a question about the possible return of Nawaz Sharif, he said, "Please come back, we are waiting for you" but added: "He will not come back. He loves money." Sharif has been living in the U.K. in self-exile since November 2019. He had gone to London after the Lahore High Court granted him bail for four-weeks to get his treatment abroad. He was serving a seven-year term at Lahore’s Kot Lakhpat jail in a corruption case.

Mr. Khan said that former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf committed the "biggest sin" by granting NROs (National Reconciliation Ordinances) to the Opposition.

He said that the Opposition wanted to blackmail the government, but said that it would be a "betrayal" if he ever granted them any concession.

Mr. Khan said that his government will complete its current term and also win the next general elections.

Shortly after Mr. Khan’s address, PML-N leader and daughter of Nawaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, took to Twitter and said that his warning that if removed from power he will become more dangerous are nothing but empty threats.

"(Khan) sounds like a person who is not only defeated but has also accepted his defeat. 4 years into the govt & he is still only whining. The ‘cartels’ you are complaining about are the MAFIAS on your right & left who have fleeced 220 million & who run your kitchen,” Ms. Maryam tweeted.

She was apparently referring to a recent damning report by the Election Commission which said that Mr. Khan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has under-reported an amount of PKR 312 million over a four-year period, between FY 2009-10 and FY 2012-13. The year-wise details reveal that an amount in excess of PKR 145 million was under-reported in FY 2012-13 alone.

She said that the corruption cases the Imran Khan government has filed against Sharifs could not be proved.

"The cases you made against Sharifs and PML-N were false & fabricated and were bound to meet the fate they have met. Now that your reality has dawned on the world, do not blame the judiciary. You have only your vindictiveness & revengefulness to blame," she wrote.

"Every word that Imran Khan uttered today reeks of failure, dashed hopes and no faith in his or PTI’s future. This was inevitable, man," she said.

In his programme, Mr. Khan also said that the rising commodity prices in the country were robbing him of peaceful night slumber.

"It is the only issue that keeps me awake at night,” he said when asked by a caller about the skyrocketing inflation, but hastened to add that the rise in the prices was a global phenomenon and even the U.K. and EU were facing this issue.

He dwelt at length on the issue of prices and his efforts to fix the economic problems, including inflation, which his government had been trying to address through a raft of measures.

"My government also spent $8 billion on the welfare of the people to offset the impact of the coronavirus,” he said, but added that the money spent was little compared to rich countries and said that the U.S. spent $6,000 billion for the welfare of the people.

He said that apart from COVID-19, his government had to face the Afghan crisis as after the Taliban takeover, dollars started flowing out of Pakistan which had a negative impact on the rupee.

Mr. Khan defending his performance said that the net wealth had increased as the World Bank had estimated an increase of 5.37% in Pakistan’s GDP. He said the increase was due to solid policies.

He said that the production of cars and motorcycles was at an all-time high and the corporate sector made big profits while the agriculture sector also did very well.

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