Eliminating terrorism: Imran sees Karachi as a litmus test for PM

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has said the real test of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government lies in eliminating terrorism from Karachi.

With the ongoing controversy over the Rangers-led operation and their scope of powers in Karachi, he said the biggest challenge for PM Nawaz is his decision to tackle the issue of terrorism in Karachi.

“Can Nawaz Sharif take the pressure? Will he stand against corruption and militancy?” asked Imran giving credit to the prime minister for the success of the army-led Operation Zarb-e-Azb launched in July last year.

The PTI chief chaired a meeting with the party’s lawmakers in the Punjab Assembly during his one-day visit to Lahore on Friday.

Unholy alliance?

He accused the Pakistan Peoples Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement of joining forces against the Rangers operation in Karachi to cover up their trail of corruption and support of militants. “These parties are continuously putting pressure on the government against the operation,” he said.

The people of Karachi, Imran claimed, wanted the operation to continue as it had managed to accomplish what the police were unable to achieve. “They have destroyed the institution of police, leaving the people to rely on Rangers,” he said.

Calling for the operation to continue, he said if the Rangers were to fall back, targeted killings and unrest would increase in Karachi. “The real question is whether Nawaz Sharif will translate the aspirations of the people or succumb to pressure?”

Standing by elected representatives

Speaking about local governments, the PTI leader said his party would stand by all elected representatives regardless of their political affiliations. He claimed the government staged the LG elections in Punjab under pressure after the polls were held in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Earlier speaking to the media on his arrival in Lahore, Imran responded to his criticism of not going to parliament by lashing out at the government for bypassing the democratic process on matters relating to taxation as well as foreign affairs.

“What is the point of going to the parliament when matters of significance are not brought for debate?” he alleged. “The issue of Pakistan’s inclusion in the Saudi-led alliance should have been debated but I suspect the issue was intentionally kept away.”

Regional stability

Talking about his recent visit to India and his meeting with Indian PM Narendra Modi, the PTI chairman said stability in the region depended on promotion of regional trade and continuation of bilateral talks. “The two countries will have to decide whether to continue with old ties or take relations forward with new thoughts,” he said.

He also stressed the need for dialogue between the two neighbouring countries on all issues, including Kashmir.

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