Pakistanis are paying a heavy price for the "conspiracy" of regime change, ousted prime minister Imran Khan said on Thursday as he once again tore into ex-Army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa for helping a "bunch of criminals" to come to power. Khan, the chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, slammed the government for "slaughtering" the Pakistani rupee, saying it has increased public debt and led to high inflation.
The Pakistani rupee sank sharply by Rs 18.74 against the dollar in the interbank market on Thursday. Analysts attributed the record drop to the government’s impasse with the International Monetary Fund. "Rupee slaughtered - lost over 62% or 110/$ in 11 months of PDM. This has increased public debt alone Rs 14.3 trn & historic 75 yr high inflation 31.5%," Khan tweeted.
Cash-strapped Pakistan's economy is in dire straits. The foreign exchange reserves fell to a critically low level of USD 2.9 billion a few weeks ago. The cash-strapped country eagerly waits for the USD 1.1 billion package from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Pakistan's longtime ally China is the only country that has refinanced USD 700 million to Islamabad. "Pakistanis paying heavy price of regime change conspiracy where a bunch of criminals have been foisted upon nation by ex COAS," Khan tweeted.
Khan, 70, has been at loggerheads with Bajwa ever since his ouster from power in April by a no-confidence motion. Khan has previously alleged that the former army chief wanted to have him murdered and impose a state of emergency in the country.
In January, he accused Bajwa of playing a "double game" against his government and said that he committed a "big mistake" by extending the tenure of then military chief in 2019. Bajwa, 61, retired on November 29 last year after getting a three-year extension in 2019 by the then-Prime Minister Khan, who turned out to be the biggest critic of the Pakistan Army. The powerful Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in matters like security and foreign policy.
Khan, the former cricketer-turned-politician, is the only Pakistani prime minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament. He had alleged that the no-confidence vote was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan. The US has denied the allegations.