Govt determined to defeat opposition in case of no-confidence motion: Qureshi

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said on Sunday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf led government was prepared to defeat any no-confidence motion against the prime minister, saying the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance has started to shatter.

Commenting on the ongoing PDM’s protests, Qureshi said political parties forming the alliance are not focused anymore.

Moreover, the foreign minister, referring to Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto’s statement regarding introducing a no-confidence motion against PM Imran, said “Those talking about initiatingn a no-confidence motion have accepted Imran Khan as the prime minister.”

Regarding the opposition’s role in the Broadsheet saga, he said, “the PTI-led government has nothing to do with the agreements signed with Broadsheet [the UK-based law firm].

“If the opposition is clean in this regard, it shouldn’t object to anyone leading the inquiry committee.” The opposition should come up with its explanation rather than resorting to criticism,” he maintained.

The veteran PTI leader said, “Imran Khan was elected as the prime minister by the people of Pakistan and hencne, the practice of referring to him as the ‘selected’ prime minister must stop.”

Ties with Biden-led administration

Responding to a question, Qureshi stated that he would urge the new US President, Joe Biden, to recognise the changes in the world, particularly Pakistan and India in the past four years, saying any future engagement should be in line with the new realities.

The foreign minister added that India was no more the “shining and secular India today”. “[India has become] a new face of Hindutva, a new practical demonstration of the thinking of the RSS. Minorities in India are finding themselves to be insecure,” he observed.

Qureshi said that Pakistan wishes to have better relations with its neighbours, saying, “we want peace and stability in Afghanistan. “We have written to the new US administration regarding the peace process in the neighbouring country.

In light of these developments, Qureshi added that the PTI government hoped to engage with the new US administration based on a “new approach and new guidelines”.

Apprising the media that he had penned a letter to the US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, Qureshi said, “I understand that there is a lot of similarity [between] the United States’ current thinking and our policies.”

Utilities price increase

The minister said the increase in the prices of utilities is due to the conspiracies of the ‘sugar mafia’, saying the government has decided to import wheat and sugar to stabilise the tariffs.

“Escalation in the prices of gas, electricity, and petrol poses a challenge for the government, and we have decided to import wheat and sugar to bring stability in the tariffs,” he said.

On January 21, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led government announced a Rs1.95 hike in the power tariff, which it blamed on the agreements made by the previous government with “bad-intentions and corrupt practices”.

“The nation is captivated by the previous agreements by the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government in terms of the electricity and gas,” he said, adding, “we are paying the price of the inflation caused by the PML-N”.

(This story has been published from The Express Tribune feed, without modifications to the text)