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Row erupts over Pakistan former PM Imran Khan''s letter to IMF over ''poll audit''

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Islamabad | March 2, 2024 9:56:55 AM IST
Senators from two sides of the political aisle sparred over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan''s letter to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) linking the release of the next tranche of the bailout package with the ''audit'' of the February 8 elections, Dawn reported.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senator Saadia Abbasi, while raising the issue in the Upper House of Parliament regretted inviting the global lender to intervene in the internal affairs of Pakistan.

She said IMF was "neither an investigation agency nor had the role to impose its will in matters linked with Pakistan''s sovereignty." She added that Khan''s role was one of the strongest opposition parties at present.

Abbasi further said the opposition was a watchdog on government and a government-in-waiting, but "domestic issues should be resolved domestically," highlighting the need for all to join hands to protect the country''s interests.

Hitting back, PTI Senator Humayun Mohmand said that it was the IMF that had sought a meeting with Khan in June 2023. He said the IMF Board of Governors had declared that it would offer bailout package "only after Imran Khan gave a guarantee."

He said the PTI chairman had been told that the first tranche would be released to the Pakistan Democratic Movement -- the ruling coalition government, the second to the caretaker government and the third to the government "that will get people''s mandate in a free and fair election."

"We are just reminding them that the next tranche is to be given to those having mandate," the senator said, while accusing the ruling government of "being formed by those who had stolen mandate."

Mohmand reminded PML-N Senator Abbasi that this was also the opinion of former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former PPP senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar and PML-N leader Javed Latif. He praised the PML-N candidate from NA-66, Nisar Cheema, for admitting that defeat was better than a stolen mandate, according to Dawn.

PML-N Senator Irfan Siddiqui said that inviting a foreign institution to intervene in Pakistan''s internal affairs was condemnable. He also informed the chair that he has already submitted an adjournment motion on the subject with the secretariat.

PTI lawmaker Zeeshan Khanzada criticised the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for not allocating reserved seats to the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), which has been joined by PTI-backed independent candidates.

Another PTI Senator, Saifullah Abro, emphasised that the election to the office of Prime Minister should be held only after the National Assembly is complete, with the allocation of reserved seats. He said that except PML-N, every party was complaining that "elections had been rigged," Dawn reported. (ANI)

 
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