Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has accused former premier Imran Khan of being “the biggest liar on the face of the earth”, in an interview with The Guardian on Tuesday.
In his first interview from Pakistan since he took over as prime minister in April, PM Shehbaz spoke about the “damage” that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief had done to Pakistan’s domestic and foreign affairs. He added that Imran was trying to “dangerously polarise the electorate” after being ousted from office earlier this year.
The younger brother of former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, Shehbaz dubbed Imran “a liar and a cheat” whose policies had left the country’s economy in “ruins”.
He accused Imran of conducting the country’s affairs to suit his own personal agenda “in a manner which can be only described as the most inexperienced, self-centred, egotistical, immature politician in the history of this country”.
Shehbaz also commented on the recent audio leaks spreading across social media, which allegedly caught Imran discussing a conspiracy about a foreign threat, and heard saying he would “play with the cable”.
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PM Shehbaz maintained that the leaked audios were “an irrefutable endorsement that he [Imran] is the biggest liar on the face of the earth. I’m not saying this with a sense of glee but a sense of embarrassment and concern. My country’s image has been damaged hugely by these lies told out of mean personal interest.”
“Never before was I concerned about our country’s future,” said Shehbaz. “Imran Khan has injected an infinite amount of poison in this society and made it hugely polarised as never before … he is distorting facts and creating hate.”
The Guardian highlighted that the current premier’s cabinet had approved a legal inquiry into the audio leak revelations, with PM Shehbaz stating that Imran Khan “has to be held accountable for all these conscious criminal acts”.
Discussing his efforts to rebuild relations with several of Pakistan’s foreign allies, Prime Minister Shehbaz said he was “shocked” at the UN general assembly in New York earlier this month when several World leaders allegedly had personally questioned Imran’s conduct.
“Some leaders told me in person about his personality,” said Shehbaz. “They told me he was rude, he told lies and he is a ‘narcissist’, quote-unquote”.
Talking about Pakistan-US relations, Shehbaz said that “Imran Khan has damaged Pakistan’s relations with the United States for no rhyme or reason”.
He also reaffirmed Pakistan’s relationship with China, which reportedly suffered under Imran after he stalled the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
Shehbaz promised to continue with the project, and said he would visit China in November, calling the neighbouring country “one of the most trusted friends of Pakistan”.
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“Make no mistake, CPEC is a project that is not only good for Pakistan’s wellbeing but for the whole region,” he said.
PM Shehbaz was open about his brother’s involvement in government.
“Of course, I consult Nawaz, he is my leader and my older brother,” he said, adding that the former premier had given him “free rein to make decisions”.
Shehbaz vehemently rebuffed the criticism about dynastic politics, a matter Imran Khan has repeatedly opposed.
“It’s about competence: it’s about public support, it’s about people’s trust,” he said.
“It’s not about dynasty”.
Originally published at tribune.com.pk