Imran comes under fire in Senate for anti-state remarks

| Law minister calls PTI chief’s statement as part of ‘anti-Pakistan narrative’  Gilani asks Imran to withdraw his controversial statement

ISLAMABAD   -   Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and former prime minister Imran Khan on Thursday came under fire in the Senate for his controversial remarks about the country’s territorial integrity and safety of its nuclear assets.

The treasury severely criticized Khan for his controversial interview given to a private TV channel while the opposition PTI tried to defend him by saying that he just pointed to the “blinking red lights” as a far-sighted leader.

On Wednesday, Khan in his interview had said that if the establishment did not take the right decisions, their country would be facing disintegration into three parts and could lose its nuclear assets.

At the outset of the sitting, Law Minister and Leader of the House Azam Nazeer Tarar raised the issue by saying that the talk of disintegration and de-nuclearization of Pakistan was unbecoming conduct of a person who had held the highest democratic office. “The remarks of the former prime minister have created unrest throughout the country,” he said, adding that this was a matter of the country’s survival.

He accused Imran Khan of violating his oath and said that any one should think 10 times before talking about this. He pointed out that Khan was removed from his office through a constitutional procedure. He said that the country comes first and then comes the power and other things. “It appears that he wants to create anarchy in the country,” he said and called the remarks of the former prime minister as part of “anti-Pakistan narrative.”

Leader of the Opposition in the Senate Dr Shahzad Waseem regretted that the treasury was trying to distort Khan’s remarks. He said Imran Khan being a visionary leader has warned against the threats posing Pakistan. He explained that the leadership is always far-sighted and keeps an eye on the upcoming incidents.

The opposition leader said stable economy and independent foreign policy were essential prerequisites to strengthen institutions and the country, but alleged the government had compromised on both. He alleged that there were clear signs that the new government had plans to accept regional hegemony of India and wanted to promote friendly relations with it.

He stressed that Khan has pointed towards the danger that if Pakistan defaults, then its nuclear assets would be compromised.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed said Khan, as a visionary leader, had only warned of the possible repercussions if the economic challenge was not addressed.

Former PM and PPP Senator Yousuf Raza Gillani demanded that PTI chairman Imran Khan should withdraw his remarks. “One should not be unfair to the country,” he said. He said that the politics and survival of the counter were interlinked and if there was a country, Khan could again get himself re-elected as a prime minister..

Senator Gillani said that as a Pakistani no one should have said that the country would be disintegrated into three parts. “Your enemies will also say that the army should be destroyed,” he said and added, “I condemn this statement that the country will go bankrupt and its nuclear assets will no longer remain there.”

He said that it was dangerous for the country to have a statement from the former prime minister and the chairman of a political party and everyone should condemn his remarks.

The PPP leader said that former prime minister Benazir Bhutto used to go to jail with her children without protocol to meet her husband Asif Ali Zardari but she respected the judiciary and elected institutions and never talked against the establishment. He said that the Supreme Court also disqualified him as the prime minister but he took no minutes to leave his office asking the party leadership to nominate another candidate for the office.

He requested the PTI to return to the National Assembly and added that the PPP had made a similar mistake by boycotting the election of 1985.

PML-N Senator Asif Kirmani urged that the institutions including the Supreme Court should take notice of Khan’s statements. He chided Khan by saying he was suffering from bipolar disorder which causes extreme mood swings. Senator Bahramand Khan Tangi said that remarks of Khan were tantamount to committing treason and everyone knows its punishment. He urged that Pakistan’s nuclear assets were in strong hands and their security was not under threat.

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