Pakistan: Imran Khan Foresees Short Tenure for Shehbaz Sharif Government

Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, currently imprisoned, expressed skepticism regarding the longevity of the current Shehbaz Sharif-led government, foreseeing his own release from incarceration within the next five to six months.

During an informal interaction with the media at Rawalpindi's high-security Adiala jail, Khan, 71, attributed his conviction in three cases within a week to a concerted effort to undermine his political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), but asserted that such efforts had failed.

Khan refrained from directly accusing any individual or entity but hinted at collaboration between the government, the military establishment, and the electoral body to influence the outcome of allegedly manipulated polls held last month. Despite PTI-backed independent candidates winning a significant number of seats in the National Assembly, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) formed a coalition government post-poll, a move contested by the PTI, which alleged electoral fraud.

In response to the economic challenges facing Pakistan, Khan stressed the importance of support from overseas Pakistanis in stabilizing the economy. He opposed securing additional loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) until political stability was achieved within the country. However, earlier the same day, the IMF announced reaching a staff-level agreement with Pakistan's government for the final review of a $3 billion bailout, indicating progress in economic negotiations.

Khan also asserted that the violent unrest on May 9, 2023, which erupted following his arrest on alleged corruption charges by paramilitary Rangers from the premises of the Islamabad High Court, was orchestrated to tarnish his party's image. He reiterated plans to hold a rally with opposition parties and stakeholders to address concerns regarding election rigging.

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