Addressing a roaring crowd in Mansehra, Prime Minister Imran Khan took shots at the opposition. While mentioning the leader of the opposition, PM Khan called him a “boot polisher” and added that whenever he sees a boot he starts polishing it. PM Khan further dubbed him “Cherry Blossom” in reference to a renowned footwear polish company in Pakistan. Many analysts believe this to be a response to the recent statements made by Shahbaz Sharif regarding Imran Khan’s rebuttal to the European Union’s joint letter. Responding to the letter from the heads of 22 diplomatic missions, PM Khan questioned, “What do you think of us? Are we your slaves…that whatever you say, we will do?” Shortly after the Prime Minister’s statement, opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif criticized the Prime Minister for mocking European countries.
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The opposition leader further added that Imran Khan should not remain in power, terming his statements undiplomatic. Shahbaz Sharif has also embarked on a campaign to hurl baseless allegations against the Prime Minister to cause rifts between the civilian and the military leadership. In a recent interview with Dawn, the leader of the opposition said that the PM knowingly tried to delay the extension in the tenure of the Chief of Army Staff. He further added that his party had always respected the military leadership, and it was the ruling party that was behind the social media campaign targeted against the security forces. However, the senior leader admitted that he had no solid information to back his claims.
Talking about the recent alleged horse-trading fiasco in the capital, PM Khan said a “Mandi” was being operated in Islamabad to buy people’s “conscience.” He said that Saleh Muhammad, a member of the National Assembly elected from NA-13 (Mansehra), was also offered money to vote against Imran Khan, but he opted against selling his conscience and took the more difficult route. PM Khan also called the opposition and the dissident members “rats” and said that they would always employ means to “blackmail”.
The Prime Minister further noted that it was through his government’s efforts that the world had started to recognize the scourge of Islamophobia. He added that it was through Pakistan’s concerted efforts that the world has now recognized the 15th of March as a day to raise awareness against Islamophobia. He further added that the United Nations has now decided that “You cannot hide behind the ambit of freedom of speech and hurt the sentiments of millions of Muslims.”