Govt Minister Rules Out Early Release From Jail For Imran Khan

Embattled government doubles down, vows to complete tenure alongside allies

Govt Minister Rules Out Early Release From Jail For Imran Khan

As the government teeters on edge in the aftermath of the brutal and widely unpopular federal budget for the new fiscal year 2024-25, it has decided to double down on remaining in power along with its current group of allies while they have also ruled out an early release from jail for Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan.

This was disclosed on Monday by Federal Minister for Housing and Works Riaz Hussain Pirzada in an interview with [The Friday Times].

Pirzada asserted that the incumbent government, with support from all the coalition partners, will smoothly complete its tenure.

He claimed that the government had smoothly passed its first budget for the new fiscal year 2024-25 from Parliament and that it was confident it would be able to run the government smoothly until its tenure ends in 2028.

Asked about the rumours of discontent among its allies, particularly the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), which is exploring a partnership with the PTI to dislodge the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and form a government in the centre, Pirzada dispelled the impression that the PPP could exit their alliance. He asserted that there was no possibility of a new alliance emerging that could upset the delicate balance of government.

"Allies in the government had some reservations with the ruling party, which is common, but there is no sign of toppling the government or any adventure at this stage," Pirzada said, asserting that their coalition partners will smoothly work with the ruling party till the completion of the tenure as these "matters are not as simple as they look."

To a question about the chances of the PPP joining the federal cabinet, which it has thus far avoided, the federal minister said that even though the PPP is the main coalition partner, it will not become a part of the federal cabinet in the near future.

"So far, there is no (such) development in this regard on the ground," he said, adding that except for the PPP, the remainder of their allies had become part of the federal cabinet and were handling their assigned responsibilities.

In response to a question regarding PPP's decision to stay away when the budget was presented in the National Assembly on June 12, Pirzada said the first budget of the coalition government had passed smoothly from the lower and upper houses of Parliament because the ruling party had addressed all reservations expressed by its coalition partners.

The opposition was raising their voice inside and outside the Parliament as per their capacity, he acknowledged.

"I am not seeing their leader (Imran Khan) secure release from imprisonment in the near future," he predicted, mentioning that the PTI supremo continues to face court cases.

When inquired about the economic burdens imposed on the common man in the budget amidst economic constraints and skyrocketing inflation, Pirzada responded that their government was making all possible efforts to overcome the economic challenges faced by the country.

"No doubt, it is difficult to run the government in the current economic crisis, as the masses are complaining about inflation and inflated utility bills," he said, adding that despite the economic constraints and the opposition's hue and cry, the Shehbaz Sharif-led government was working to address the economic challenges and will complete its tenure smoothly. 

The coalition partners are hand in glove with the ruling party at each step, he claimed, dropping a hint that their coalition partners have no other option but to work with the PML-N to ensure the smooth running of the government in the current scenario.