Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Sunday that he did not join politics to check the prices of ‘aloo and tamatar‘, as he attacked the Opposition parties for tabling a no confidence motion against him in Parliament, accusing him for mismanaging the economy amidst spiralling inflation.
Addressing a political rally in Hafizabad city in Punjab province, Mr Khan said the nation would stand against elements trying to topple his government through “buying the conscience of the [lawmakers] using money”.
He said Pakistan was going to become a great country in the remainder of his term, adding that the incentives announced by his government would yield results soon.
The 69-year-old cricketer-turned-politician said that 25 years ago, he decided to join politics for the sake of the country’s youth, adding that he had no personal gains from doing so as he already had everything in life that a person could dream of.
“I didn’t join politics to know the prices of ‘aloo and tamatar‘ (potatoes and tomatoes). I joined it for the sake of the country’s youth”, Mr Khan, also chairman of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, said.
“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.
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.
Mr Khan’s speech came days after the united opposition front submitted a no-confidence motion against him while pinning its hopes for the success of the motion on the estranged members of the ruling party and its allies.
The key leaders of the Opposition parties will meet on Monday at the residence of the Leader of Opposition in National Assembly and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif to hold a consultative huddle to chalk out an effective strategy to make its no-confidence motion successful.
Mr Khan also said it was the responsibility of the state and judiciary to stop the “corrupt” and “convicted” politicians who were trying to “topple the state” through horse-trading.
He said the people will see that those trying to dislodge him from the top office would get buried under the weight of their own conspiracy.
In his speech, Mr Khan criticised Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari for maintaining silence on US drone strikes in Pakistan between 2008 and 2018, saying those leaders never spoke for the rights of Pakistan.
In the 342-member National Assembly, the Opposition needs 272 votes to remove the prime minister.
Prime Minister Khan came to power in 2018 and the next general election is scheduled to be held in 2023.