Pak opposition leaders slam PM Imran, question his decision to become country's premier

·3-min read

Islamabad, Dec 23 (PTI) Pakistan's Opposition alliance leaders on Wednesday hit out at the government for playing 'musical chairs' with the federal Cabinet and asked Prime Minister Imran Khan why he assumed office when he was not prepared for the challenges.

Addressing the Pakistan Democratic Movement's (PDM), an 11-party Opposition alliance, 'Mehangai March' in Mardan, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said before the election Khan used to say that he had a team of 200 'fantastic individuals'.

'Where is that 200-person team now? Ministers in his cabinet play musical chairs with each other [...] but that 200-person team is nowhere to be seen in Pakistan,' she said.

'He says that he was unaware about the country's power issues, external debt, the current account deficit, and didn't know how to run the government and was not prepared,' she was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.

She said Khan, however, was prepared for the sugar, wheat and LNG scams.

'You weren't prepared to give the jobs you promised but you were prepared to bring in your friends and give them jobs,' she said.

Maryam's comments come a day after Prime Minister Khan said that never should a new government come to power without doing its homework and without getting briefings, the report said.

'When I review my performance, we took three months only to understand [issues as] everything that we had been looking at from outside was altogether different after we came to power,' Khan said.

'I must also share, for one-and-a-half years we remained unable to even know the actual figures of different sectors, particularly the power sector. From one ministry at times the figures indicated we were performing very well and then sometimes some other figure showed we were not performing that well,' he said.

Addressing the rally after Maryam, PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman said the Opposition had been saying that the current government is inept, but now the premier himself has admitted his failure, the report said.

'He said that he could not make sense of the figures that were presented before him [...] such a government does not have the right to make decisions for the people,' he said.

Rehman said the Supreme Court had also raised questions over the conduct of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

'There is no trusting the accountability process now. It is a puppet of the establishment and has no value of its own. The premier says that I will have to answer, but I want to say to him that he is in the grip of my accountability. First get yourself off the hook, then talk about us,' he said.

The PDM - an alliance of 11 Opposition parties - has been formed against the Pakistan Army's interference in politics and installing 'puppet' Prime Minister Khan through a manipulated election.

Khan faces a serious challenge as the PDM set a January 31 deadline for him to step down or face a 'Long March' to Islamabad.

The PDM held massive rallies in major cities to seek Khan's ouster and press the powerful military to stop interfering in politics. The Pakistan Army has denied meddling in politics. Khan also denies that the Army helped him win the election in 2018.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif has repeatedly blamed Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for Pakistan's current situation. PTI MRJ MRJ