Pakistan’s ex-premier Khan warns of economic ‘collapse’

Jul 19, 2022, 11:22 PM | Updated: Jul 20, 2022, 12:05 pm

ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan’s former prime minister said Wednesday that the government of premier Shahbaz Sharif is mismanaging the country’s fragile economy.

Imran Khan’s remarks to journalists at his residence in Islamabad came hours after Pakistan’s currency plummeted to an all-time low of 225 rupees against the U.S. dollar, amid increasing political instability. The delay in the release of a crucial $1.17 billion installment from the International Monetary Fund to Islamabad has also added to the existing economic crisis.

The fund last week said it reached a preliminary agreement with Pakistan to revive the $6 billion bailout package. But the deal is subject to approval by the IMF’s executive board.

On Wednesday, Khan said he “worries” that Pakistan is teetering near an “economic collapse.” A spokesman for Sharif did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

He said a looming crisis “all started after my government was ousted.” He reiterated his call for snap elections, a demand already dismissed by Sharif and his allies.

Khan came into power following the 2018 parliamentary elections, but he lost a majority in the National Assembly in April when his allies and about two dozen lawmakers from his own Tehreek-e-Insaf party abandoned him.

Khan’s removal in April came amid his cooling relations with Pakistan’s powerful military, which many of Khan’s political opponents allege helped the former premier, Khan, come to power in general elections in 2018. The military has directly ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 75 years and wields considerable power over civilian governments.

Since his ouster, Khan has criticized the country’s powerful army chief, Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying he was also part of the greater plot aimed at removing him from power. The military has denied the charge.

Khan also insists his government was ousted under a U.S. plot, a charge Washington denies.

When Khan was in power, Pakistan’s foreign reserves rose to over $18 billion, which dipped to $10 billion recently. Khan says he can revive the country’s economy with the help of his team if he gets another chance in office.

In recent weeks, Sharif has slashed subsidies on fuel, electricity and natural gas to meet IMF’s conditions. It has made Sharif’s government highly unpopular and caused a spike in food prices.

Over the weekend, Sharif faced a major political setback when Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party won elections in the country’s most populous province. Khan’s party won 15 seats out of 20 that were up for in the 371-member provincial assembly in Sunday’s vote.

That brings the overall number of seats held by Khan’s party and their allies in the chamber in Punjab to 188. He needs 186 lawmakers’ backing to rule the Punjab province. On Friday, the Punjab Assembly will elect its new chief minister to replace Prime Minister Sharif’s son Hamza Shahbaz who currently holds the post.

On Wednesday, Khan reiterated his demand for the snap vote.

“The only solution to the current political and economic problems is the holding of fresh elections,” he said.

But Sharif and his allies have rejected Khan’s demand, saying the next elections will be held as per the schedule next year. They also blame Khan for the current economic crisis.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


juneteenth shooting texas...

Associated Press

2 killed and 6 wounded in shooting during a Juneteenth celebration in a Texas park

A shooting in a Texas park left two people dead and six wounded, including two children, on Saturday, authorities said.

1 day ago

Photo: Israeli soldiers drive a tank near the Israeli-Gaza border, in southern Israel, Wednesday, J...

Jack Jeffery, The Associated Press

8 Israeli soldiers killed in southern Gaza in deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months

An explosion in Gaza killed eight Israeli soldiers, the military said Saturday, making it the deadliest attack on Israeli forces in months.

2 days ago

Juanita Beach Kirkland...

Kathy McCormack and Nick Perry, The Associated Press

‘Tis the season for swimming and bacteria alerts in lakes, rivers

With summer about to start, many people flocking to their favorite swimming holes may also want to read up on bacteria warnings.

3 days ago

Image: Members of the Makah Indian tribe paddle away from the rising sun as they head from Neah Bay...

Associated Press

Washington’s Makah Tribe clears major hurdle toward resuming traditional whale hunts

The U.S. granted the Makah Indian Tribe a long-sought waiver that helps clear the way for its first sanctioned whale hunts since 1999.

4 days ago

jerry west...

Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press

Jerry West, a 3-time Hall of Fame selection and the NBA logo, dies at 86

Jerry West, a three-time Basketball Hall of Fame inductee whose silhouette is considered to be the basis of the NBA logo, died Wednesday morning.

5 days ago

Photo: Construction vehicles are parked outside of the Station U & O building on Tuesday, June 11, ...

Haleluya Hadero, The Associated Press

Amazon adds $1.4B to affordable housing fund for regions where it has corporate offices

Amazon is adding $1.4B to a fund for building more affordable housing in regions where the company has major corporate offices.

6 days ago

Pakistan’s ex-premier Khan warns of economic ‘collapse’