Pakistan on brink as Khan breaks with army with brutal jibe ‘Only animals are neutral!’
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Imran Khan earlier this week insisted the Pakistan Army had not contributed to him securing his position in 2018. But in a stunning U-turn on Friday, the Pakistani Prime Minister denounced the military for claiming political neutrality as he swiped “only animals are neutral.” Mr Khan has been facing calls from his opponents to stand down over claims of mismanaging the economy and poor governance.
Addressing a rally in Lower Dir, Mr Khan was reported as saying: “Only animals are neutral.
“Good human beings pick a side and stand with truth.”
Opposition lawmakers and political analysts say Khan, a former cricket star, has lost the backing of the powerful military whose support they say secured the path to power for his upstart political party four years ago.
Indian journalist Aditya Raj Kaul shared his analysis of Mr Khan’s speech, suggesting the hostile jab at the military signaled an “open war” is now in place.
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Mr Kaul wrote on Twitter: “Open war breaks out between Pakistan Army & Imran Khan Niazi.
“Niazi compares Pakistan Army with “Janwar” (animal). Says, an animal can be neutral, not human being.
“Animals can’t distinguish between good or bad. Pak Army had said they are neutral.”
During the speech, Mr Khan maintained a clearly combative stance against his opponents, among which is Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto
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Maulana Fazlur Rehman, the leader of the JUI-F opposition party, accused Mr Khan of repeatedly using foul language and of not deserving his seat.
He said: “We know how to jam you. We opted for the path of decency but it’s in your nature not to respect someone’s civility.
“You abuse and insult others. Your language shows that you do not deserve to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan.”
Mr Fazlur added: “He (Imran Khan) should be controlled. Pakistan can’t afford such people anymore.”
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Mr Khan has responded to economic problems with cuts in fuel and electricity prices, while rejecting calls to step down and warning the opposition of unspecified consequences if they force a vote of no-confidence.
Both the opposition and Khan’s party are riven by factions.
Khan won a confidence vote last year by six votes.
Pakistan’s next general election is due by 2023.
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