Human Rights Minister Dr Shireen Mazari defended the prime minister, saying his statement was being quoted out of context.
In an unprecedented, albeit bold, move, Imran while speaking at a joint press conference with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani after their bilateral talks on Monday had said: “I know Iran has suffered from terrorism [perpetrated] by groups operating from Pakistan. …we [need to] have trust in each other that both countries will not allow any terrorist activity from their soil. We hope this will build confidence between us.”
The rumpus started when PML-N MNA Khurram Dastagir Khan drew the attention of the house towards the reported statement of the prime minister regarding the use of Pakistan’s soil against Iran.
“No prime minister has ever made such a confession on foreign soil,” Dastagirsaid, adding that only a day earlier, “the foreign minister had stated that terrorists had entered from Iran to carry out activities in Balochistan.”
He said the International Monetary Fund has already linked the bailout package for Islamabad with the findings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
“Pakistan is exposed internationally by such statements for facing litigation,” the PML-N lawmaker said.
He recalled that Imran had previously suggested that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s re-election could help reach a settlement over occupied Kashmir, and alleged that the premier in a public meeting had said that “he could shake hands with Modi but not the opposition”. He also accused the prime minister of having said previously that the Pakistani military had created militants.
“The prime minister has committed diplomatic blunders,” the PML-N leader alleged. “Through his statements, the [premier] has hit national security.”
He said the opposition was not terming Imran “a traitor”, but that he needs to come to the house to give an explanation.
PPP MNA Hina Rabbani Khar, who has previously served as the country’s foreign minister, was unforgiving in her criticism of Prime Minister Imran’s statements.
“We are worried for the country after seeing it continually become a laughing stock, and not for ourselves,” she said. “This is not funny anymore. You cannot play with the destiny of this country anymore.”
She said although the premier had publicly talked about the use of Pakistani territory against Iran in the past, other people who said much less severe things were “ousted from the country [and] cases were filed against them and their right to be elected was taken away”.
“You cannot make these stupid statements and expect us to stand behind you,” Khar said.
She claimed that people had been declared “traitors” for engaging with Indian prime minister in the past, but now Prime Minister Imran was “endorsing that if [Modi] is re-elected the Kashmir issue would be resolved”.
“Where is your sense of history?” she asked the premier. Khar also criticised his statement regarding an interim set-up in Afghanistan, saying any interference in the internal affairs of another country is “not sophisticated diplomacy”.