General elections should be delayed to fix economy: Fazlur Rehman
Even as the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) ratchets up the pressure for holding fresh general elections, the head of the ruling coalition on Wednesday said that general elections should be delayed as they attempt to fix the economy.
Tacitly, he confirmed what has been stated elsewhere by other members of the ruling rainbow coalition that that they need time to regain the favor of the public having spent a fair bit of their political capital in recent months to rescue the flagging economy.
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) President Maulana Fazlur Rehman was speaking to senior journalists at Sarawan House in Quetta on Wednesday where he welcomed Nawab Aslam Raisani into his Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Fazl (JUI-F) party.
Talking about an ‘extended innings’, he said that general elections should be delayed past the scheduled time, the latest by which is October 2023 as previously suggested by ruling coalition partner, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N).
On holding dialogue with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, Rehman berated him as an unnecessary element of Pakistani politics.
He accused Imran for politically polarizing the military and for pushing the national economy into quicksand.
“When our government took over (in April), the country was on the brink of default and being blacklisted (by Financial Action Task Force (FATF)),” he said, adding that it is only when they looked at the books that they realized just how far close to the edge Imran had pushed the country towards.
Further, he blamed Imran for pursuing a duplicitous agenda by first creating an American cypher conspiracy to gain public sympathy. But with the conspiracy unraveling, he and his his party now does everything it can to avoid talking about it or issuing an anti-American statement.
“Now the wind has been let out of his balloon of popularity,” he said.
Rehman noted that Imran uses public speeches to attack individuals and institutions to black mail them.
“He is threatening to dissolve the assemblies by December 16, but that date is quite painful for people who are from the Niazi clan,” he said
“You can’t hold negotiations with someone who has a non-political and anarchic mind,” he said.
IMF & economic troubles
Rehman said that even though they have staved off falling into the blacklist of the FATF and instead exited the gray list to join the whitelist, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was delaying the next tranche of their loan.
“Now who is oppressing us?” he said, adding that they were being pushed into a corner with one arm tied behind their back.
Attempting to translate the gravity of the country’s economic situation, Rehman said that such was the country’s condition that try as they might to rectify the situation, they found themselves getting dragged deeper in the quicksand of economic ruin.
“To save the national economy, we need to implement long-term projects,” he said.
Reiterating that the ruling coalition is fully focused on improving the national economy, he said that they will also push ahead with the agenda of implementing an Islamic system of banking in the country.
In this regard, the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP) and National Bank have both withdrawn their appeals against the system’s implementation from the Supreme Court
Govt in Balochistan
Predicting a win for his party in Balochistan after the next general elections in the province, the JUI-F chief said that their government will reflect the will of the people.