Pakistan: Imran Khan predicts short tenure for Shehbaz Sharif government

Khan also accused the government, the military, and the election commission of being behind last month's allegedly manipulated elections

File photo of Imran Khan
File photo of Imran Khan


Beleaguered former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday predicted a short tenure for the current Shehbaz Sharif-led government as he anticipated his imprisonment in a slew of cases to end in five to six months.

Khan, 71, made the comments during an informal chat with media persons at the high-security Adiala jail in Rawalpindi, where he is currently incarcerated, the Express Tribune newspaper reported.

The founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party claimed that he was "targeted" by being convicted in three cases within a week in an attempt to undermine his party. "But their plan failed," he said, without directly naming anyone. Khan anticipated that his imprisonment would end in the next five to six months, after which, he predicted, the incumbent government would "end", the report said.

Khan also accused the government, the powerful military establishment and the top electoral body of being behind last month's allegedly manipulated national elections, the authenticity of which his party has questioned. "The caretaker government, election commission, and the establishment are all one," he was quoted as saying in the report.

Though more than 90 independent candidates backed by the PTI won the maximum number of seats in the National Assembly, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) led by former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto struck a post-poll deal and formed a coalition government in the country.

Khan's PTI has refused to accept the outcome of the polls, alleging that the results were manipulated. The PTI founder also announced plans to hold a rally on Saturday with all opposition parties and stakeholders who became "victims of election rigging".

Talking about the cash-strapped country's economic woes, Khan emphasised the role of Pakistanis living abroad in stabilising the economy and said, "Only overseas Pakistanis can help us out."

The cricketer-turned-politician also said he was against landing another International Monetary Fund (IMF) plan before any form of political stability in the country. "I told the IMF not to issue loans until there is political stability in the country," he said.

Earlier in the day, the IMF said it reached a staff-level agreement with Pakistan's government on the final review of a USD 3 billion bailout, paving the way for the release of the last USD 1.1 billion tranche from the global lender.

Khan also alleged that the 9 May violence that rocked the country last year was 'orchestrated' to discredit his party, as violent protests erupted after Khan's arrest by paramilitary Rangers from the premises of the Islamabad High Court in connection with an alleged corruption case.

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