In Pakistan’s politics, former Prime Minister Imran Khan continues to be the centre of country’s news cycle in which he is surrounded by nothing but controversies. The latest among many that has taken over Khan’s currently fragile political fortunes is a controversial claim that he “sold” a gold medal he received from India during his time as Pakistani cricketer.
During a television program on Monday, Pakistan Defence Minister Khawaja Asif said that Imran Khan “had sold a gold medal which he had received from India,” the Express Tribune newspaper on Tuesday quoted the senior Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N) leader as saying.
Asif did not provide any details about the gold medal Khan allegedly sold. Khan’s alleged action of selling off the “gold medal” is not illegal. But the chatter in Pakistani media suggests that it is contrary to the high moral standards Khan always talked about.
The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician is in the crosshairs these days for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as Prime Minister at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
Usually, such gifts are either permanently deposited in the Toshakhana or can be bought by the person who received them at a lower price.
Khan had been disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan for making “false statements and incorrect declaration” in the Toshakhana issue.
On September 8, the deposed prime minister admitted in a written reply that he had sold at least four presents he received during his tenure as Pakistan Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, addressing a session of the National Assembly, the Defence Minister took a dig at Khan and said the former prime minister has “gone mad for power.” He said Khan should not “target” the institutions that “supported him unconditionally” during the last four years.
Asif said that the PTI chairman could not deliver despite the assistance extended to him by the institutions that backed him. He noted that Khan was censuring the armed forces of the country despite the fact that they had announced to remain apolitical.
“After 75 years, we are at a point where we can say that all the institutions are playing their constitutional role. These institutions extended ‘unconditional support’ to Imran Khan,” he said.
“He (Imran) should not attack these institutions but rather should be ashamed of himself that despite their assistance he could not perform.” Khan, who escaped an assassination attempt earlier this month, is expected to relaunch his long march this week, demanding early elections.
Khan was ousted in April after a no-confidence motion was passed against him.
(With inputs from agencies)
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