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Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Business leader urges PM Shehbaz to join hands with Imran Khan

Khan, who remains behind bars, has been implicated in a range of criminal cases, including charges under the Official Secrets Act, terrorism, and corruption.

A prominent business leader in the country has urged Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif to extend an olive branch to his political rival, the incarcerated founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan.

Khan, who remains behind bars, has been implicated in a range of criminal cases, including charges under the Official Secrets Act, terrorism, and corruption.

Read more: Court Orders Medical Checkup for Imran Khan and Wife

The former prime minister was removed from power through an opposition no-confidence motion in April 2022. However, PTI has alleged that Khan’s ousting was orchestrated by the United States, supporting the opposition’s motion.

Khan was arrested in August last year after being sentenced in the Toshakhana case. Subsequently, he was convicted in cases related to secret and un-Islamic marriages, with his appeals currently pending before the respective courts.

This development arose during the PM’s day-long visit to Karachi, where he engaged with the business community, addressing their concerns and suggestions regarding trade and the economy.

Read more: Here’s how much Imran Khan’s security cost in Adiala Jail

During a Q&A session, business mogul Arif Habib commended PM Shehbaz’s previous efforts in securing a bailout package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Habib suggested that the prime minister should “extend his hand” to two entities — one being the neighboring country India, and the other being the incarcerated PTI founder, in order to ensure stability in the country.

Pakistan downgraded its relations with India, including suspending trade, after the Modi-led government unilaterally changed the special status of the occupied valley in August 2019, a decision Islamabad believed hindered talks between the two nations.

Pakistan has linked the normalization of ties with India to the restoration of the special status of the Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir (IIOJK).

Earlier in the day, PM Shehbaz reassured Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah of the federal government’s full support in addressing issues raised by the provincial authorities.

“We will collaborate like brothers, as a team, for the benefit of the people of Pakistan,” said the premier during a meeting at the CM’s House.

The prime minister emphasized that working together is essential for progress and prosperity and pledged not to compromise on this.

PM Shehbaz assured CM Murad that he is at his disposal whenever needed.

This assurance from the premier followed the provincial chief minister’s expression of disappointment over the lack of federal support for Sindh’s inclusion in new development schemes.

“In the past four years, the federation has overlooked Sindh in new schemes,” the chief minister informed PM Shehbaz during their meeting in Karachi today.

Various matters were discussed during the meeting chaired by the premier, held following his arrival in the port city for a day-long visit after being elected as prime minister for the second time.