Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday warned the Opposition that if he is ousted from government, he will prove to be an even more dangerous adversary for them than as the country's premier.
"I wish to warn you: If I am ousted from the government, I will be more dangerous for you.
"Right now I sit silently in my office and watch all the drama taking place. If I take to the streets, you will have no place to hide, because the people have seen your true colours," the premier said, during a live interaction with people broadcast on state television.
"With what you have done to the country — all of you together over the last 35 years — and the boiling lava [of anger in people] that has accumulated, [all it will take] is the point of a finger towards you, and people will take to the streets and you will be looking to flee back to London," he continued.
Speaking in particular of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, the PML-N supremo who is currently residing in London where he travelled for medical treatment, PM Imran Khan said: "They say he will come back from London today, or tomorrow. We are praying that he comes back. But he won't come back. He is too attached to his wealth. Whoever worships money will never want to lose it."
The premier said that Nawaz will remain in London, thinking he will "secure a deal today, tomorrow, the day after" and will build the narrative that his "party is intact" in Pakistan.
"Otherwise if they find out he has no intention of coming back, the already crumbling party [will collapse]" he said.
PM Imran Khan said that the party's "time is up" and that the nation "will never forgive them".
He shamed the PML-N for its leaders having left the country even while their party was in power in 2017. "Has any other three-time prime minister ever said that his sons are not nationals of the country? They have billions of rupees in properties but he tells us to go ask them as 'I don't know where the money came from'."
The prime minister in continued criticism, said that they are "playing polo, someone is roaming about in a Bentley, someone else in a Rolls Royces", adding that "even the royal family cannot spend this much money".
"Where did all this money come from?"
"I am waiting for you to come to Pakistan. Please come to Pakistan," the prime minister said to Nawaz.
At the beginning of the session, the premier spoke to a caller regarding the issue of inflation in the country, and said: "The biggest challenge we face today is inflation and the rising prices of commodities. I am well aware and cognisant of the issues being faced by the common man due to rising prices.”
The premier then said that inflation is "not an issue occurring solely in Pakistan."
"I want my countrymen to understand that inflation is a global phenomenon caused due to the COVID-19 pandemic," he said. “From industrialised countries such as the United States, the United Kingdom, to Europe and Japan, the entire world is facing spiralling costs of living, a sharp increase in food prices, and a huge spike in energy prices.”
“Pandemics such as COVID-19 occur once in 100 years. It has had a global negative effect, disrupting lives all across the world.”
Citing the 5.37% Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the country despite the prevalence of the pandemic, the premier questioned the Opposition, the critics, and the media as to how the country continues to progress if there is complete economic turmoil.
"The construction sector is booming in the country and banks have received applications for housing loans worth Rs290 billion, while the government has already granted Rs140 billion to the applicants, which shows the public's trust in the government's policies," he said.
The premier said that 45,000 housing units are under construction, while the private sector and building developers are constructing three million houses in their 342 projects.
"Thirty industries are directly linked with the construction sector and are benefitting from this boom," the premier said.
Addressing the media, the premier said that while it is the right of the media to criticise the government so that it could improve, it should refrain from resorting to propaganda and fake news.
"Our government is against mafias, and unfortunately, some elements within the media have also sided with them to spread negativity," he said.
Criticising the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, the premier said: "I don't consider him the leader of the Opposition, [I consider him] a criminal."
"Unfortunately, the Opposition leader delivers two-hour-long speeches in Parliament levelling baseless allegations on the government, but never clarifies corruption of Rs16 billion in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case," PM Imran Khan said.
The premier said that he is ready to talk to everyone — even if their views differ from his — but he is never going to negotiate with the corrupt or allow them to benefit from the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).
"If I negotiate with the corrupt Opposition and give them NROs, then I will be a traitor. I will be deceiving the nation, as well as my Allah," he said.
The Opposition is attempting to have people take to the streets against the government, but it should keep in mind that "the public will not come out to protect the corruption of political leaders", he said.
The prime minister said that the PTI-led government wants to remove the gap between the weak and the powerful to strengthen the rule of law in the country.
"The rule of law can be established in the country with the collective efforts of society against the corrupt and the criminals," he said.
Answering a question about high taxes on imported mobile phones, the premier said that his government is trying to manufacture everything within the country, adding that manufacturing goods within the country is the only solution as importing goods from abroad is very expensive.
"Even the clothes I am wearing are made in Pakistan. I don't wear anything imported," the premier said.
He said that the government is trying to document the economy so that tax collection can be increased and the country's tax net can be broadened.
"If we want to be a progressive nation, we have to pay taxes," he said, adding that the government has compiled the details of luxury vehicles and houses and their owners, so that they pay taxes.
PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, in response to the premier's statement on becoming a more dangerous adversary in the Opposition, termed it "nothing but false bravado".
"The day you are ousted will be the day the nation will offer prayers of thanks. Neither are you Nawaz Sharif, behind whom the country stood, nor are you helpless or oppressed. You are a conspirator and have fallen victim to your deeds," she wrote on Twitter.
Maryam went on to say that "whining and crying and being dramatic will yield no benefit".
"Pick up your bags and be on your way," she said to the prime minister.
"The longer you continue to hold on to power, the greater the harm you will cause your own self and the people. You have been dealt an exemplary defeat," the PML-N vice president said.
In earlier posts, Maryam said that the prime minister "sounds like a person who is not only defeated but has also accepted his defeat".
She said the cartels he referred to during his conversation with people "are the mafias on your right and left who have fleeced 220 million and who run your kitchen".
"The cases you made against Sharifs and PMLN were false & fabricated and were bound to meet the fate they have met. Now that your reality has dawned on the world, do not blame the judiciary. You have only your vindictiveness & revengefulness to blame," she wrote.
She said that the prime minister's words "reek of failure, dashed hopes and no faith in his or PTI's future", adding that he is "history".
She said that these "dashed hopes" serve as a "new hope" for people who are waiting to be spared the "4 year long ordeal that has cost them their lives".
Prior to taking the calls, the Prime Minister's Office had provided a landline number — 051-9224900 — for citizens wanting to speak directly to the premier.
The announcement for the live call session was made through the official Twitter account of the Prime Minister's Office on Saturday.
The prime minister has regularly been taking live calls from people and answering their queries.
Sunday's session was the seventh time PM Imran Khan interacted with the public. The last live session by the premier was held last year on August 29.
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