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Ahsan Iqbal says Imran is “playing” with Pakistan’s interests to keep his politics alive

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Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal on Sunday accused former Prime Minister Imran Khan of “playing with Pakistan’s interests”, alleging that the former prime minister was trying to revive his “failed policy” through the turmoil.

Speaking at a press conference in Lahore, the minister said the National Security Committee (NSC) twice ruled out the possibility of any foreign plot, but “Imran Niazi is playing with national interests to keep his policy alive.”

“If Pakistan wants to be a strong country, we need a strong economy,” he said. “This can only happen when we align with the global economy.”

Iqbal alleged that the PTI system impeded the progress of the economic corridor and strained relations with the European Union, the United States and brotherly Islamic countries, and risked isolating the country.

He said he did not want Pakistan to become Cuba or North Korea. “We have to put Pakistan on the (development) path like Malaysia, Turkey, China and South Korea.”

“When he submitted a request to withdraw confidence from him, he encouraged the vice president (Qasim Suri) to violate the constitution and then portrayed him as a hero,” the minister said, referring to Omran. “These people are not heroes, they are criminals. There will be measures against them,” Iqbal said.

The minister defended the Supreme Court’s decision to expel Imran through a parliamentary vote after the Supreme Court overturned its decision to dissolve the National Assembly.

He said, “The Supreme Court has done its duty, and no one has the right to point a finger at the institution.”

The PML-N leader also accused the PTI of trying to pressure the Election Commission of Pakistan in an alleged attempt to influence the foreign funding issue. And just a day before, Imran called for the resignation of the head of the electoral commission, Sikander Sultan Raja, accusing him of bias. Raja later said that there was no good reason to do so and that it was in the country’s best interest for him to remain in office.

In his press statement, Iqbal described the frequency of the former prime minister’s statements about the “conspiracy” as the “Runa virus”, and pledged that the state would move forward and the coalition government would solve all the problems facing the country.

Iqbal also alleged that Imran sold the gifts of Toshakhana abroad, which further discredited Pakistan. The masses will be relieved in “some time,” he said, adding that the government’s first priority is to reform the economy.

He dismissed ideas that the government was concerned about Imran’s expected march to Islamabad, saying that the ousted prime minister had done all this before and was likely to continue in the future as well.

The minister promised that there would be no “false cases” against Imran and that only “real cases” would be raised. “The evidence will guide all of our work,” he said.

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