I am democracy: Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said the opposition’s real issue with the military was that unlike other institutions, they (opposition) were unable to control the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) after the agency found out about their alleged corruption.

He emphasised that people would not come out to save someone’s ill-gotten wealth, who was sitting in London; they may distribute cash or ‘qeemay waalay naan’. Addressing a ceremony organised by the Insaf Lawyers Forum (ILF) here, the premier said the PML-N supremo and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif fought with every army chief because he wanted to turn the military into the Punjab Police.

“They (opposition) control all the institutions whose job it is to keep check and balance, except one. They know the ISI is aware of all their theft. They try to control it and that’s where the conflict starts,” he pointed out.

Imran Khan once again mocked Nawaz Sharif over his claim that ex-ISI chief Zaheerul Islam had asked him to resign as the prime minister, asking, “why did he (Zaheerul Islam) say that? And why did you (Nawaz) silently hear that? Because Zaheerul Islam knew how much money you had stolen”.

Referring to what he termed Nawaz Sharif’s criticism of the Pakistan Army, he said that if anyone was going around with India’s agenda, it was the opposition. He added that if the Pakistani military was weakened, the country would see similar turbulence as in other Muslim countries such as Libya, Syria and Yemen.

He made it clear that, “We are safe today because of the sacrifices rendered by our armed forces. The reason I did not have any problems with the army and the military supported every agenda of my government is because of my clean record.”

The prime minister maintained that if he too started laundering money out of the country, then the ISI would find out about it before anyone else because it was the world’s top agency. Imransaid Nawaz Sharif’s real cause was not democracy but protecting his financial interests.

Speaking on democracy, he remarked, “I am democracy. I was elected after bagging the most votes in Pakistan and won from five constituencies.” Referring to the opposition’s allegation of the vote having been stolen in the 2018 elections, the prime minister said if there had been rigging, his party would not need a coalition to form a government. He said the opposition was abusing all institutions to exert pressure to be given an NRO-like concession, adding that the day they get an NRO would be the downfall of Pakistan.

“You can do as many rallies as you want,” he told the opposition, which has planned a series of anti-government protests under the Pakistan Democratic Movement banner in the coming weeks. “The moment you break the law, you will go straight to jail — and not to a VIP jail, but where the poor are sent,” he said.

The prime minister said all the unemployed opposition politicians had united on one platform because they consider themselves above the law and not answerable. He billed the opposition parties’ alliance, an alliance of dacoits.

Referring to Nawaz’s call to his supporters to take to the streets against the government, the prime minister asserted that the PML-N workers would not come out even if they are bribed with money and qeemay waalay naan. The prime minister also scoffed at the PML-N leader Muhammad Zubair comparing Nawaz’s life abroad to the time spent in exile by Iranian revolutionary leader Ayatollah Rouhullah Khomeini, saying while Khomeini was sent abroad forcibly on ‘gun-point, Nawaz had gone abroad after his party’s repeated pleas regarding his health, saying he was suffering from six and even 12 ailments.

During the six-hour cabinet meeting, he recalled doctors talked about so many diseases Nawaz suffered from and this brought tears in the eyes of Shireen Mazari. He also noted that a helicopter would never fetch Nihari for the Iranian leader from Lahore, who would simply eat bread with yogurt, indirectly referring to Nawaz Sharif.

“The Iranian public used to love Ayatollah Khomeini; when he left the world he had a small house … he and his children didn’t have properties worth billions in London. The opposition had tried to blackmail the government over the passage of legislation concerning the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and now wanted to oust the government because the country was emerging out of crisis.”

The prime minister noted that when the courts would announce judgments, they would say why he was thrown out. “What they possessed 30 years back and what they own now. A person sitting in London is calling people to come out to save his looted money. But people don’t take to streets to save someone’s money. They may distribute cash or qeemay waalay naan. They will not come out,” he claimed.

On the occasion, the prime minister promised health cards for all lawyers and said the government would facilitate them in obtaining houses through the Naya Pakistan Housing Programme.

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