Imran Khan holds rally amid Pak political row, others say ‘martial law may…’

Political unrest continued in Pakistan this week with former Prime Minister Imran Khan leading a massive rally in Lahore and the right-wing Jamaat-e-Islami suggesting that martial law could soon be imposed in the country. Meanwhile, the country’s economic crisis continues to worsen, with inflation standing at 47% year on year for the week that ended on March 22.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief unveiled a 10 point 10-point roadmap for the cash-strapped country’s economic recovery on Sunday, asserting that the ruling coalition ‘didn’t have the ability or the intention’ to save the country. Perched within a bulletproof box atop a shipping container, the PTI chief insisted that the main problems plaguing the economy were foreign debt, a current account deficit, reduced exports, pressure on the rupee and tax evasion.

““We need surgery to correct the governance system of this country, for which ensuring rule of law is a must. To reduce the current account deficit, we have to encourage our overseas Pakistanis to invest in the country,” Khan told thousands of party supporters during the public rally at Minar-i-Pakistan.

The former PM’s plan focuses on boosting revenue through foreign exchange and investment, widening the tax network, and anti-money laundering initiatives. He also outlined steps to promote agriculture, tourism, a housing finance scheme, a health card program, and small- and medium-sized industries.

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But as the tussle between Pakistan’s ruling coalition and the PTI-led former administration worsens, JI chief Sirajul Haq has broached the possibility of martial law being imposed. Proposing nationwide elections, Haq condemned the government’s attempts to suppress protests, saying peaceful demonstrations are the constitutional right of every political party.

“The Pakistan Democratic Movement government has become a burden on the nation,” he was quoted as saying by the Express Tribune.

Data from the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics indicates that inflation soared to 47% last week. The price of onions reportedly increased by 228.28% while wheat flour went up by 120.66% and the price of diesel rose by 102.84%.

“Free wheat flour lines are selling deaths,” he said, adding that five poor people had already been martyred in the race to collect the basic necessity.

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(With inputs from agencies)


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