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Imran Khan says Pakistan PM Sharif involved in plot to kill him

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The former PM also said that the shooting will not deter him from continuing a protest march towards the capital

(Al Jazeera) Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused his successor of involvement in a plot to kill him as he recovered in hospital from gunshot wounds following an assassination attempt.Khan told reporters on Friday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced him as prime minister following a vote of no confidence in April, was involved in a plot that included Minister for the Interior Rana Sanaullah and a senior army commander.

“These three decided to kill me,” Khan said in his first public appearance since Thursday’s attack, adding that two gunmen were involved.

The government has denied any part, and blamed the assassination attempt on a gunman fuelled by “religious extremism”.

The media wing of Pakistan’s military called the allegations “baseless and irresponsible”.

“The government of Pakistan has been requested to investigate the matter and initiate legal action against those responsible for defamation and false accusations against the institution and its officials without any evidence whatsoever,” the military’s Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) said in a statement.

Sanaullah also rejected the allegations and said the coalition government had demanded an independent investigation. Sharif also condemned the shooting and ordered an investigation.

The attack on Khan’s convoy killed one man and wounded at least 10, significantly raising the stakes in a political crisis that has gripped the country since Khan’s toppling in April.The 70-year-old former international cricket star has been leading a campaign convoy of thousands since last week from Lahore to Islamabad.Sitting in a wheelchair – his right leg in a cast and left leg heavily bandaged – Khan spoke for more than an hour, railing against the government and establishment he has accused of unseating him.

He also made a new call to the public and urged the nation to continue its fight for freedom. He said that once he has recovered, he will resume his long march towards Islamabad.

Khan appealed to the chief justice of Pakistan to take action against the injustices being carried out against him and his party workers. He said that he has done enough for Pakistan to prove that he only has the best intentions for his country.He demanded the resignation of the three people he held responsible for the attack.

“[If] there is no justice, a country can’t prosper,” Khan said addressing the chief justice. “It’s your responsibility to save this country from injustice.”

The Punjab provincial secretary general of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Hammad Azhar, told Al Jazeera that despite what some critics said, a lack of security was not to blame for the shooting.

“It’s not that there were no precautions taken. This was a planned assassination attempt on Imran Khan. It was carefully planned, and it was carefully executed,” Azhar said. “There were multiple security cordons around him.”

Pakistani journalist Hasan Khan told Al Jazeera that the former prime minister might have been too hasty with his accusations.

“It’s too early to blame the country’s prime minister, the interior minister and the senior military officer, but you know what Khan is doing, he is already cashing the political capital out of this,” he said.



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Pakistan’s ex-president, Pervez Musharraf dies aged 79

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(picture BBC)

BBC reported that Pakistan’s former president General Pervez Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, has died aged 79.

The former leader – who was president between 2001 and 2008 – died after a long illness, a statement from the country’s army said.

He had survived numerous assassination attempts, and found himself on the front line of the struggle between militant Islamists and the West.

He supported the US “war on terror” after 9/11 despite domestic opposition.

In 2008 he suffered defeat in the polls and left the country six months later.

When he returned in 2013 to try to contest the election, he was arrested and barred from standing. He was charged with high treason and was sentenced to death in absentia only for the decision to be overturned less than a month later.

He left Pakistan for Dubai in 2016 to seek medical treatment and had been living in exile in the country ever since.

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The 75th Anniversary of National Independence celebrated under the patronage of President, PM

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(picture Presidents Media)

The 75th National Independence Day celebration was held under the theme “Namo Namo Mata – A Step towards the Century”, under the patronage of President Ranil Wickremesinghe and Prime Minister Dinesh Gunawardena on Saturday morning (04) at Galle Face Green.

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Lanka sovereign bond holders write to the IMF

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ECONOMYNEXT –Sri Lanka’s bondholders have written to the International Monetary Fund expressing their willingness to engage in debt re-structuring talks but also raising matters related to the domestic debt re-structuring and economic assumptions and forecasts.

The group, styling itself as the “Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the Bondholder Group) has written last week to the IMF Managing Director from New York said inter alia that the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

The letter concluded with the paragraph: Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

Following is the text of the letter:

NEW YORK, Feb. 3, 2023

Dear Managing Director Georgieva,The Ad Hoc Group of Sri Lanka Bondholders (the “Bondholder Group”) acknowledges the Sri Lankan authorities’ engagement with their official creditors towards a resolution of the current crisis and restoration of debt sustainability.

The Bondholder Group further acknowledges that such engagement has recently resulted in the Government of India (in its letter to the IMF, dated January 16, 2023 (the “India Letter”)) delivering letters of financing assurances, committing to support Sri Lanka and contribute to its efforts to restore debt sustainability by providing debt relief and financing consistent with the IMF Extended Fund Facility Arrangement (the “IMF Programme”) and the IMF Programme targets indicated in the India Letter.

Similarly, the Bondholder Group through its Steering Committee stands ready to engage quickly and effectively with the Sri Lankan authorities to design and implement restructuring terms that would help Sri Lanka restore debt sustainability and allow the country to re-gain access to the international capital markets during the IMF Programme period.

Based on the limited information available to us at this time, including information contained in the India Letter, we understand that the IMF Programme’s debt sustainability targets are identified as

(i) reducing the ratio of public debt to GDP to 95% by 2032,

(ii) limiting the central government’s annual gross financing needs to GDP ratio to 13% in the period between 2027 and 2032, and central government annual foreign currency debt service at 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032 and

(iii) closing of the external financing gap.

The Bondholder Group hereby confirms it is prepared to engage, through its Steering Committee, with the Sri Lankan authorities in restructuring negotiations consistent with the parameters of an IMF Programme and the targets specified therein (the “IMF Programme Targets”), which the Bondholder Group understands to be the targets identified in the India Letter; it being recognized that these negotiations will necessarily be further informed by the receipt of the forthcoming DSA.

We would note that the finalization of an agreement will also be subject to the satisfaction of the following conditions:

The central government’s domestic debt – defined as debt governed by local law – is reorganized in a manner that both ensures debt sustainability and safeguards financial stability.

Assuming that annual gross financing needs should not exceed 13% of GDP in the period between 2027 and 2032, whilst allowing for central government annual foreign currency debt service to reach 4.5% of GDP in every year between 2027 and 2032, domestic gross financing should therefore be limited at 8.5% of GDP for the period 2027-2032.

While we recognize that the determination of the economic assumptions underpinning the IMF Programme Targets is ultimately the responsibility of the IMF and that the overall design of the IMF Programme is one that is negotiated between the IMF and Sri Lanka, it is nevertheless important that the Bondholder Group has the opportunity to express its views on both the economic assumptions underpinning these IMF Programme Targets and the adequacy and feasibility of the adjustment efforts contemplated under the IMF Programme.

When considering any restructuring proposal that is made to the Bondholder Group, it is the Bondholder Group’s intention to take into consideration the extent to which the economic assumptions and the adjustment efforts are consistent with these views.

Recognizing the important commitments made by India in the India Letter, the Sri Lankan authorities will apply the principle of comparable treatment in respect of the debt relief requested and obtained from all their remaining official bilateral creditors.

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