Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the minister said the National Security Committee (NSC) twice dismissed the possibility of any foreign conspiracy, however, "Imran Niazi is playing with national interests to keep his politics alive."
"If Pakistan wants to be a strong country, we need to have a strong economy," he said. "That can only happen when we align ourselves with the global economy."
Iqbal's media talk comes as the PTI chairman continues to insist he was ousted as a result of a foreign-backed conspiracy.
In his presser, Iqbal alleged that when the PTI was in power, it had hampered the CPEC's progress and soured ties with the European Union, the United States and even brotherly Muslim countries, risking the isolation of the country.
He said he does not want Pakistan to turn into Cuba or North Korea. "We have to set Pakistan on the path of [development, like] Malaysia, Turkey, China and South Korea."
"When a no-confidence move was brought against him, he encouraged the deputy speaker (Qasim Suri) to violate the constitution and then portrayed him as a hero," the minister said, referring to Imran. "Such people are no heroes, they're criminals. And there will be action against them," Iqbal asserted.
The minister defended the Supreme Court for its order that saw Imran ousted through a parliament vote after his move to dissolve the National Assembly was reversed by the top court.
"The apex court fulfilled its duty and no one has the right to point fingers at the institution," he said.
The PML-N leader also accused the PTI of trying to pressurise the Election Commission of Pakistan in an alleged attempt to influence the foreign funding case. Just a day earlier, Imran called on Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja to resign, accusing him of bias. Raja subsequently said there was no valid reason to do so and would remain in his position in the best interests of the country.
Iqbal, in his presser, termed the frequent mentions of "conspiracy" by the ex-PM the "rona-virus", vowing the country would move forward and the coalition government would fix all issues facing the country.
Iqbal also alleged that Imran sold Toshakhana gifts abroad, thus bringing disrepute to Pakistan. He said the masses would be given relief in "some time", adding the first priority of the government was to overhaul the economy.
He rejected notions that the government was worried with Imran's expected march to Islamabad, saying the ousted premier had been doing all of that before and it would likely continue in the future as well.
The minister vowed there would be no "false cases" against Imran and only "genuine cases" would be lodged. "Evidence will guide all our actions," he said.
Asia News Network: The Nation (Thailand), The Korea Herald, The Straits Times (Singapore), China Daily, Jakarta Post, The Star and Sin Chew Daily (Malaysia), The Statesman (India), Philippine Daily Inquirer, Yomiuri Shimbun and The Japan News, Gogo Mongolia, Dawn (Pakistan), The Island (Sri Lanka), Kuensel (Bhutan), Kathmandu Post (Nepal), Daily Star (Bangladesh), Eleven Media (Myanmar), the Phnom Penh Post and Rasmei Kampuchea (Cambodia), The Borneo Bulletin (Brunei), Vietnam News, and Vientiane Times (Laos).
Published : April 25, 2022
By : DAWN