–Abstain from voting if you don’t want, PM Imran responds to Khattak’s criticism
ISLAMABAD: Minister for Defence Pervez Khattak left the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) parliamentary party’s meeting held in Islamabad on Thursday in fury following an ‘altercation’ with Federal Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar on the severe gas crisis in the country.
According to sources, when at last he was brought back to the meeting room, Khattak did not spare Prime Minister Imran Khan either whom he also severely criticized.
He said this in the parliamentary party meeting held in Islamabad ahead of the National Assembly session to get the Finance Supplementary Bill 2021 approved.
“We, the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) got you elected as the country’s prime minister. But it is sad that there is an extreme gas shortage in the province. KP has the largest gas reservoirs. We also produce electricity. And still, we are deprived of these resources,” he reportedly said to the prime minister in anguish.
“And if the same situation persists, people of the province will not vote for you,” he told PM Imran in clear and unambiguous terms.
“If this is your attitude then we will not be able to vote,” he added.
Upset over the ‘rebellious’ tone of his minister and a close confidante, the prime minister left the room, saying, “If you are not satisfied with my ‘governance’, I appoint somebody else as my successor.”
PM Khan said he has to hold a daily meeting to woo his party members for a vote in the National Assembly.
He said if his own members continued to blackmail him in this way he would have no other option but to invite the opposition to form the government.
“Do not blackmail me and don’t vote for me if you do not want,” adding “I am fighting the war of the country and have no interest in government,” he remarked.
The premier said, “I want to make it clear that there will be no compromise on the national interest, the security of state institutions is the first and foremost priority. “My war is a war of national interest,” he added.
Khan said he does not own any businesses or factories and was daily in contact with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to reduce the taxes.
This did not stop here as the defence minister also had an exchange of hot words with the Federal Minister for Finance Shaukat Tarin. “Tarin, you have failed to satisfy us on the economy,” he reportedly said to the finance minister.
Another disgruntled PTI MNA Noor Alam Khan addressed the prime minister like this, “If we vote for you in the next elections, will we be given gas and electricity in return?”
Noor Khan asked Imran Khan whether with the proposed finance bill Pakistan is going access to America to the military accounts. He questioned whether India or other countries give access to outsiders to their military accounts.
Talking to media after the meeting, the defense minister said that he hadn’t left the meeting in anger but came out of the room to smoke.
On the occasion, Minister for Energy Hammad Azhar said that the participants questioned about gas in the meeting and he remained successful in satisfying the parliamentary party members.
He said Prime Minister Imran Khan told the meeting that gas reserves in the country were dwindling and domestic demand will be met by importing gas.
According to sources, during the meeting, the MQM discussed tax amendments in the mini-budget and demanded that basic necessities should not be taxed, to which the prime minister replied that we are aware of the plight of the people and the government will not impose additional taxes.
Sources further said that during the meeting, PTI MNA Noor Alam also questioned whether the state institutions would be affected by the SBP s autonomy or not.
Pakistan Muslim League Quaid-e-Azam (PML-Q) National Assembly member Chaudhry Salik Hussain Thursday left the PM’s chamber in anger.
Prime Minister Khan had called Chaudhry Salik Hussain for a meeting.
PML-Q member Chaudhry Salik Hussain waited outside the PM’s chamber for a very long time. Prime Minister’s staff kept preventing Chaudhry Salik Hussain from returning.
The PM’s staff explained that their meeting was delayed due to meeting with Tariq Bashir Cheema and Pervez Khattak. Chaudhry Salik Hussain didn’t listen to the staff and left the office in a huff. TF REPORT