PM details 3 options given by establishment



ISLAMABAD:

 

Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that the country’s ‘establishment’ gave him three options of facing the no-confidence motion in parliament or holding fresh elections in the country or stepping down from the post of prime minister, in order to end the ongoing political turmoil.

In an interview with a private television channel, Imran stressed that calling early elections was a better option in the prevailing circumstances, adding that he could not even think of resigning. He promised that he would make a comeback with a heavy majority if removed from the government.

“I said early election is the best option… I could never think of resigning… and for no-trust motion, I believe that I will fight till the last minute,” he said. “On the voting day, I want the nation to see the faces of those who would sell their loyalties,” Imran remarked.

The prime minister also said that he knew that a “foreign conspiracy” was being hatched in London to topple his government since August last year. “This game started in August … I received reports about people frequently visiting London from here [Pakistan]… and [also received] reports from agencies.”

Prime Minister Imran charged Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in London since 2019 for medical treatment, with plotting against his government.

“He [Nawaz] was frequently holding meetings with individuals who are against the military and held last meeting with Hussain Haqqani on March 3” – four days before the government received the threatening letter, Imran claimed.

Army chief

Responding to a question, Imran rubbished rumours that he was mulling over to de-notify Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying that it was a “propaganda spread by the PML-N”. “I can never think of doing anything which is detrimental to our armed forces,” he stressed.

Imran said that he would never speak against the military despite the issues. “I will never discuss them publicly because Pakistan needs a strong army and we should not do anything which causes harm to [the military],” he remarked.

Speaking about the reported impasse over appointment of director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) in October last year, the prime minister admitted that he wanted Lt-Gen Faiz Hameed to continue as the DG ISI till winter because of fears of a civil war in Afghanistan.

“He [General Qamar] had a different view in this regard, while I was thinking as the chief executive of the country,” said the prime minister, dispelling the impression that his approach was based on “favouritism”.

Imran said that he had so far not thought about giving extension to the incumbent army chief or appointing a new military head. When asked if he still enjoyed cordial ties with the military chief, the prime minister said: “The relations are fine”.

Life in danger

Imran told the interviewer that his life was in danger because his opponents “know that I will not back down or sit quietly”. He added: “They will implicate me in cases. They will launch a character assassination campaign. They already ran a campaign against my wife and her friend.”

Firing a broadside against the opposition leaders, Imran said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairperson Asif Zardari, after coming into power, would abolish the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to end the accountability drive launched by his government.

“No one has harmed the country more than Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari. They both wreaked havoc in Pakistan [but] I will not give them NRO, come what may” he said, referring to the political amnesty granted by then military ruler Pervez Musharraf through the National Reconciliation Ordinance in 2007.

After getting the first NRO from Pervez Musharraf, Imran continued, the opposition was yearning for the second NRO to regain power and abolish NAB to do away with their corruption cases and pave way for revoking the disqualification of Nawaz Sharif.

“They are trying to reinstate themselves by destroying the institutions,” he said, adding that the foreign powers were using these “thieves” to control the country, who could not speak up to them in order to conceal their riches abroad.

Imran said that Nawaz and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, publicly spoke against the military. “A strong army was inevitable for Pakistan,” he said, referring to wars in Iraq, Syria, Somalia and Libya. “Pakistan would also have been disintegrated into three pieces if we did not have a strong army,” he added.

The prime minister said that he would go to the masses and seek a heavy majority to cleanse all the filth. He added that his government faced immense difficulties during the last three and half years because of lack of a heavy majority. “A government lacking majority has to make compromises.”

Referring to the conspiracy for his ouster, Imran said the developing countries were controlled by the abettors, calling them Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq of the present day. “In this era of social media, people particularly the youth would never forgive those shifting their loyalties for money,” he added.

In these days, the prime minister emphasised, the foreign powers did not need to conquer a country rather they achieve their objectives by planting people, who compromised their own country’s national interests.

Imran alleged that Nawaz Sharif was the mastermind of yellow journalism, Changa Manga politics and even buying judges in the country. “Both Nawaz and Zardari made corruption an acceptable evil in society,” he added.

Speaking about the dissident lawmakers from his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the prime minister pointed out that no civilised society could “imagine the trade of loyalties” as was seen at the Sindh House, Islamabad.

Foreign policy

Reiterating his government’s policy of having cordial relations with all the states, Imran said, Pakistan would become a partner in peace but not conflict. He stressed that people of the tribal areas as well as the expatriates suffered a lot after Pakistan joined the US-led war against terrorism.

After losing 80,000 lives, the prime minister said, Pakistan achieved nothing from the US-led anti-terror war except that the elite got benefits. “Contrary to the practice of joining one bloc after the other, the PTI government’s foreign policy is aimed at keeping people’s interests supreme,” he said.

He pointed out that “Nawaz Sharif’s party and Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s party [the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam] had supported the conspiracy against [PPP founder] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto”, who was also targeted for adopting an independent foreign policy.

Also read: Pakistan threatened with ‘dire consequences’ if no-trust fails: PM Imran

‘Threatening memo’

The prime minister said that the ‘secret letter’ mentioned the ouster of Imran Khan. “It said that in case of his ouster, Pakistan’s all misgivings would be forgiven, otherwise, the country would face difficulties,” he said, adding that the conspiracy was meant to isolate him.

“Such threatening communication in black and white is unprecedented… What could be a bigger threat to a nation than regime change… I feel frightened as to how we reached that stage that they dared to threaten us this way,” he remarked. In order to target someone, he said, they collaborate with and fund media for character assassination.

“Three months ago, a TV anchor said that TV channels were being offered money to target the government. “Why Imran Khan turned into a villain all of sudden. This did not happen for no reason. It involves money,” he commented. “This is crossroads, on the one side of this are these traitors, who are trying for regime change through a foreign conspiracy,” he alleged.

“On the other there is the Pakistani nation that does not want to opt for this course. They want to see a nation with self-esteem,” he said. “We will sail through this difficult time and face everyone. We will achieve self-dependence if no one gives us money. But we will never bow before anyone except Allah.”

Responding to another question about the ‘secret letter’, the prime minister emphasised that Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif did not “turn up to verify the conspiring communication” just because he was a co-conspirator in the plot.

Mentioning his detailed consultation with his legal team hours before the interview, the prime minister said that the government was also thinking about moving the Supreme Court on the matter because it was a national security issue.

Referring to the adoption of a resolution by the United Nations to designate March 15 as the ‘International Day to Combat Islamophobia’, he said Almighty Allah had bestowed him with the honour of spearheading the Muslim world on the issue.

About his economic policies, the prime minister termed inflation a global phenomenon. However, he highlighted that the PTI government received record dollar inflows in the forms of exports and remittances, and a record tax collection, which also provided a cushion to reduce oil and power prices.

“What they will do. How Shahbaz Sharif will reduce prices. What solution does he have?” Imran said about the opposition. He added that the PTI had swept the local government election in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which manifested the party’s popularity.

(WITH INPUT FROM APP)

‘Talk of de-notifying army chief was opposition’s propaganda’

While responding to a question, PM Imran rubbished the rumours that he was mulling to de-notify army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and added that it was a “propaganda spread by PML-N”.

“I can never think of doing anything which is detrimental to our armed forces… our country needs a strong military.”

PM Imran said he will never speak against the country’s military. “Despite the issues, I will never discuss them publicly because Pakistan needs a strong army and we should not do anything which causes harms to [military],” he remarked.

‘No favouritism on spy chief’s appointment’

Speaking about the reported impasse over new spy chief’s appointment in October last year, PM Imran admitted that he wanted General Faiz Hameed to continue as DG ISI till winter amid fears of civil war in Afghanistan.

“He [General Qamar] had a different view in this regard while I was thinking as the chief executive of the country,” said the premier while dispelling the impression that his approach was based on “favouritism”.

PM Imran said he had so far not thought about giving extension to the incumbent army chief or appointing a new military head.

When asked if he still enjoyed cordial ties with the military chief, the premier said, “The relations are fine”.

Also read: ‘Absolutely no truth to allegation’: US refutes PM Imran’s claim

Yesterday, PM Imran had said he was paying the price in the shape of a “foreign conspiracy hatched by the United States” to topple the incumbent government through the opposition’s no-confidence motion for pursuing an “independent foreign policy”.

In an address to the nation, he stated that on March 7 the government received a message from a foreign country through Pakistan’s ambassador there, which said that “they would pardon Pakistan’s all misgivings if Imran Khan was ousted. If happened otherwise, Pakistan would have to face difficulties”.

His administration late on Thursday night lodged a formal protest with the US over a threatening letter that warned of dire consequences if the opposition’s no-confidence motion against PM Imran failed.

The acting US envoy in Islamabad was summoned to the Foreign Ministry over the “threatening” letter, hours after the country’s top decision-making body on national security voiced concerns over the issue during a meeting chaired by the premier.

‘Serious threat to my life’

PM Imran, in today’s interview’ said his life was in danger because his opponents “know that I will not back down or sit quietly”.

The prime minister said PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and PPP co-chairperson Asif Ali Zardari after coming into power will abolish the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to end the accountability drive launched against them by his administration.

“No one has harmed the country as much as Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari and they both wreaked havoc in Pakistan… come what may I will not give them NRO [deal],” he added.

PM Imran said that Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam publicly spoke against military. “But I will never speak against the army because our country needs strong military otherwise it will be disintegrated.”

This will be updated…





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