The opposition parties in Pakistan have slammed Prime Minister Imran Khan's remarks that he did not join politics to check the prices of “aloo and tamatar”. Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) president and prominent leader Shahbaz Sharif said the remarks show Khan was never concerned about the sufferings of people due to high inflation in the country.
In a statement, Sharif said that Khan's speech in Hafizabad was a "testament to his defeat", according to Geo News. The PML-N chief also alleged that Khan has started illegal construction schemes to turn his "black money into white".
"You have transformed Pakistan into the third-most-expensive country of the world. Under your rule, the people of Pakistan are suffering from inflation, unemployment, and economic catastrophe - all of which have turned out to be a doomsday for the masses,” Sharif was quoted as saying by Geo News.
Imran Khan's controversial speech
Khan addressed a rally in Punjab province's Hafizabad on Sunday where he said that he did not join politics to know the prices of "aloo and tamatar," but decided to become a politician for the "sake of the country's youth".
The remarks were a jibe at opposition parties, which have tabled a no-confidence motion against Khan in Parliament, accusing the Prime Minister for mismanaging the economy amidst spiralling inflation.
In his speech, Imran Khan heavily criticised Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazli chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) president Asif Ali Zardari. He accused these leaders of staying silent during the US drone attacks in Pakistan between 2008 and 2018 and never raising their voice for Pakistan's right.
"If we want to become a great nation, we will have to support the truth, and this is what I have been preaching for the last 25 years," Mr Khan said.
The anger against Imran Khan
A united opposition front submitted a no-confidence motion in Pakistan's National Assembly on Tuesday over rising prices of essential commodities and falling forex reserve of the country.
After submitting the motion, Fazlur Rehman said Imran Khan is not fit to be the Prime Minister of the country. "Whether we come or not, Imran Khan should go and we will use every democratic and Constitutional manner for his ouster,” he told reporters.
The ruling Pakistan Tehree-e-Insaf (PTI) is, however, confident that the motion will be defeated. The opposition, meanwhile, is pinning its hopes for the success of the motion on the estranged members of the ruling party and its allies.
Inflation a big worry in Pakistan
Pakistan's general inflation measured by Consumer Price Index (CPI) clocked in at 24-month peak of 13 per cent in January as prices of almost all commodities and utilities maintained a growing trend.
The sectors that posted double-digit growth in prices when compared to the same month of last year included perishable and non-perishable food items, energy, transportation, clothing and health, the Dawn newspaper reported last month.
This is the highest CPI inflation since January 2020 when it was 14.6 per cent, it said.
How the numbers stack up in Pakistan National Assembly?
In the 342-member National Assembly, the Opposition needs 272 votes to remove the Prime Minister.
Khan came to power in 2018 and the next general election is scheduled to be held in 2023.