Opposition parties term Imran’s ‘austerity drive’ a publicity stunt

Pakistan prime minister criticised for taking ‘tainted figures’ in federal cabinet

ISLAMABAD: Hardly eight days has passed since cricketer-turned politician of Pakistan Imran Khan took oath as 22nd prime minister of Pakistan that politicians particularly those from opposition camp have started questioning whether he really has a road map to steer the country out of troubled waters.


Three major political parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazlur Rehman (JUI-F) are among the staunch critics of Imran Khan’s vision and have termed him a leader sans political maturity and vision.

Responding to decisions of the federal cabinet to reduce government’s expenditures, former interior minister and a senior member of PML-N, Ahsan Iqbal alleged that Imran Khan is habitual of repeating old things and has nothing new to speak about.

“A cursory look at the faces in new federal cabinet will convince you that his ‘austerity drive’ is nothing but a publicity stunt. The wealth of senior leaders of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is stashed in foreign banks and they don’t have any interest in Imran Khan’s austerity campaign. “Do you think they would let the austerity drive succeed?”

Even in his inaugural address, Imran Khan didn’t provide any solid plan for implementation of his policies,” he said.

The prime minister failed to mention vital national issues like China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and energy crisis in his inaugural address, Iqbal said.

“The team formed by Imran Khan to run the affairs of government cannot help him achieve his targets,” said Iqbal.

Sindh Chief Minister and senior leader of PPP Syed Murad Ali Shah has also criticised Imran Khan for taking “NAB-tainted figures” in his cabinet. Shah said instead of levelling charges of corruption against his opponents the prime minister should look into the past of his cabinet members.

Sindh Minister for Local bodies and PPP leader, Saeed Ghani said that Khan’s much-trumpeted announcements regarding austerity measures are nothing more than a publicity stunt.

“In his first address to the nation, the prime minister kept a mum on important issues such as terrorism and extremism and did not even say a few words against those who have killed more than 70,000 Pakistanis,” said Ghani.

He said the prime minister did not give any policy statement on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor project.

Former Governor of Sindh and PML-N leader, Mohammad Zubair said that there is a lot of difference between what the prime minister says about austerity and what he practises. Not a single days passes when Imran Khan provides his critics an opportunity to expose him publicity stunts about austerity. “We are only waiting for the right moment … the moment when people will also realise that Imran Khan’s austerity campaign is nothing but a publicity stunt. There are many important national issues that requires the prime minister’s attention but in his address to the nation he spoke mostly about the non-issues.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s lawmakers have termed Imran Khan’s decisions regarding austerity and abolishment of discretionary funds as landmark measures. They said that Imran’s decision regarding austerity and reduction in government expenses has a vast public support as they now understand that there is someone who can take good care of the taxes they pay to the government.

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