Pakistani minister suggests Imran Khan's imprisonment key for economic stability

    WORLD  17 June 2024 - 14:38

    Federal Planning and Development Minister Ahsan Iqbal has claimed that many Pakistanis believe keeping former Prime Minister Imran Khan imprisoned until 2029 is crucial for the country's economic stability.

    The 71-year-old leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has been in jail since August last year facing multiple charges, Caliber.Az reports, citing Indian media.

    Iqbal, who is also the Secretary-General of the ruling Pakistan Muslim League (N), expressed his concerns during a discussion with reporters on June 15. He noted that Khan’s release could potentially trigger renewed protests and unrest, which Pakistan cannot afford amidst its ongoing economic challenges.

    “People come to us and tell us if Pakistan has to progress, then Imran Khan will have to be kept in jail for five years,” Iqbal stated. He emphasized that many citizens view Khan as an "angry man" whose detention is necessary for maintaining economic stability.

    Iqbal highlighted that Pakistan is at a decisive moment, suggesting that meaningful dialogue with PTI is unattainable as long as the party continues its campaigns against state institutions. “If Imran Khan wants to hold dialogue with the government, he will have to show seriousness,” Iqbal added, stressing the need for policy continuity to foster economic progress.

    However, the statement has drawn sharp criticism from Fawad Chaudhry, a former Minister for Information and Broadcasting under Khan’s government. Chaudhry accused the ruling party of revealing its political and economic strategy, which he claimed is centered around imprisoning Khan to maintain control.

    Chaudhry argued that the government's reliance on coercive measures indicates its lack of popular support. “It is clear that the government itself believes that it can only rule by the stick and has no standing among the people of Pakistan,” he said.

    In response, Iqbal took to social media platform X (formerly Twitter) to defend his remarks, asserting that it was not the government's strategy but rather the sentiment of the populace. He criticized Khan’s tenure as Prime Minister, stating that despite ruling for four years, Khan's administration had little to show for its efforts beyond establishing soup kitchens.

    Caliber.Az

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