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.



Associated Press

Body of avalanche victim in Washington state recovered after being spotted by volunteer

Search crews have recovered the body of a climber who was one of three killed in an avalanche on Washington's Colchuck Peak in February.

18 hours ago

Eugene and Linda Lamie, of Homerville, Ga., sit by the grave of their son U.S. Army Sgt. Gene Lamie...

Associated Press

Biden on Memorial Day lauds generations of fallen US troops who ‘dared all and gave all’

President Joe Biden lauded the sacrifice of generations of U.S. troops who died fighting for their country as he marked Memorial Day with the traditional wreath-laying ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery.

2 days ago

OpenAI's CEO Sam Altman, the founder of ChatGPT and creator of OpenAI gestures while speaking at Un...

Associated Press

ChatGPT maker downplays fears they could leave Europe over AI rules

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman on Friday downplayed worries that the ChatGPT maker could exit the European Union

3 days ago

File - Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, left, and OpenAI CEO Sam Altman arrive to the White House for a ...

Associated Press

Regulators take aim at AI to protect consumers and workers

As concerns grow over increasingly powerful artificial intelligence systems like ChatGPT, the nation’s financial watchdog says it’s working to ensure that companies follow the law when they’re using AI.

5 days ago

FILE - A security surveillance camera is seen near the Microsoft office building in Beijing, July 2...

Associated Press

Microsoft: State-sponsored Chinese hackers could be laying groundwork for disruption

State-backed Chinese hackers have been targeting U.S. critical infrastructure and could be laying the technical groundwork for the potential disruption of critical communications between the U.S. and Asia during future crises, Microsoft said Wednesday.

6 days ago

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, May 17, 2023, in Washington....

Associated Press

White House unveils new efforts to guide federal research of AI

The White House on Tuesday announced new efforts to guide federally backed research on artificial intelligence

7 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Internet Washington...

Major Internet Upgrade and Expansion Planned This Year in Washington State

Comcast is investing $280 million this year to offer multi-gigabit Internet speeds to more than four million locations.

Compassion International...

Brock Huard and Friends Rally Around The Fight for First Campaign

Professional athletes are teaming up to prevent infant mortality and empower women at risk in communities facing severe poverty.

Emergency Preparedness...

Prepare for the next disaster at the Emergency Preparedness Conference

Being prepared before the next emergency arrives is key to preserving businesses and organizations of many kinds.

SHIBA volunteer...

Volunteer to help people understand their Medicare options!

If you’re retired or getting ready to retire and looking for new ways to stay active, becoming a SHIBA volunteer could be for you!

safety from crime...

As crime increases, our safety measures must too

It's easy to be accused of fearmongering regarding crime, but Seattle residents might have good reason to be concerned for their safety.

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...

Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.

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