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November 19, 2019

Cabinet majority opposed foreign travel concession: PM Imran Khan says he felt pity for Nawaz Sharif

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November 19, 2019

ABBOTTABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday disclosed that majority of his ministers had opposed granting permission to former prime minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif to go abroad for treatment but he felt pity and let him travel abroad.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of the Hazara Motorway second phase at Havelian, Imran said the government had demanded a meagre amount of Rs7 billion as guarantee, but Shahbaz Sharif, his two sons and one son-in-law and Nawaz Sharif’s son-in-law offered themselves as surety, which was not acceptable to the government, as they were also corrupt.

Imran said he had been trained to face challenges, win a game, lose one, and rise again after the fall.

Offering all-out support to the Supreme Court, he requested Chief Justice of Pakistan Justice Asif Saeed Khosa and the apex court senior judge Gulzar Ahmad to help liberate the country by dispensing justice to all on equality basis.

He said there was a public perception that the law was different for the powerful and weak in Pakistan and called upon the apex court judges to end that perception and restore the public confidence in the judiciary.

The prime minister said the judiciary was the last platform for the underprivileged segments of society to get justice adding that dispensation of quick justice would help lay down the foundation of a system based on the principles of the state of Madina.

Lashing out at the JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, he said a circus was staged in Islamabad. “I would have accepted their demands had they staged the sit-in for a month. We had staged 126-day dharna. I am expert in staging dharnas,” he added.

The prime minister said the sit-in participants were mostly seminary students,who did not even know why they had come there. He said the sit-in participants had been told that Imran Khan was going to recognise Israel and Islam was under threat in his rule.

“Unfortunately, people are cheated in the name of Islam,” he said. He argued that the sit-in diverted the world’s attention from the Kashmir issue. He said the occupied Kashmir had been under siege since August 5, but the media was busy covering the Islamabad dharna.

The prime minister said corrupt politicians, including the PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, were standing on the container to protect themselves from accountability.

“They wanted an NRO (deal) but I will not give it to them in my life, as this will be an unforgivable sin if I committed it,” he said.

Terming the corrupt politicians mafias, he warned that God had bestowed upon him the capability to fight them.

Referring to benefits of China-Pakistan Economic Corridor and small projects being completed under the initiative, the premier said the CPEC would change the destiny of the nation.

“This mega project is now becoming the real game-changer,” he added. Imran said technology was being introduced in different fields. “Our agricultural and industrial sectors will be the main beneficiaries. Our production will increase to at least two to three folds,” he said.

The prime minister said Pakistan’s industry would also benefit from the CPEC projects, as jobs would be created for the youth.

“We are concentrating on the housing industry and its allied industries. It will boost the industrial sector in Pakistan,” he added.

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser and federal ministers Omar Ayub Khan and Murad Saeed were also present along with the Chinese Ambassador in Pakistan Yao Jing.

Federal Minister for Communications Murad Saeed said the Postal Services and National Highway Authority, which were on the verge of default, had shown a lot of improvement and earned over Rs10 billion revenue.

Murad said his ministry was going to offer training and internship to 45,000 youths. Agencies/Desk news add: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday reiterated that the government would not withdraw corruption cases against the corrupt opposition leaders and challenged them to do whatever they could.

Addressing the inaugural ceremony of 39.3 kilometer Havelian-Mansehra section of the 118-km-long Havelian-Thakot Motorway project, he said the hue and cry being made by the opposition parties would end as soon as he gave them an NRO (deal) like former president Pervez Musharraf did.

Imran said he would not do so as he feared God and the Day of Judgment. “It is my promise to God that I will not spare a single person who has plundered the nation’s money.”

Imran said getting lenient with the corrupt mafia could have given him a trouble-free rule, but it would be the "biggest betrayal” with the nation. "Still, I have a choice to get four years of comfort in return for turning a blind eye to corruption cases; however, due to fear of God, I have preferred a tough fight instead," he added.

He dubbed ‘circus on container’ the recently held sit-in by the JUI-F in the federal capital, which was also joined by other opposition parties.

The prime minister said their only agenda was to pressure the government to withdraw corruption cases against them. “Even in the negotiations held during the protest, the opposition parties also put forward a minus-one formula, as their only objection was against me.”

He said anybody except him was acceptable to them as prime minister, as he was not ready to give them an NRO. Imran said he knew well that people were facing inflation and a difficult time, but it was all due to the same political parties, which had quadrupled debt burden on the country.

He mocked the opposition for giving up their protest too soon. He said he had already challenged the opposition leaders to spend just a month on the container and get all of their demands fulfilled by the government.

“We spent 126 days on a container,” he added. “A few of my cabinet members were worried during the JUI-F dharna, but I told them not to worry, as I knew what was a container and dharna. You can spend 126 days only if your efforts are based on an ideology,” he added.

He said the PTI-led government was the first one to take the responsibility of seminaries’ students, but Fazlur Rehman misguided them and tried to exploit them by using the religion card.

“But the way these kids have been exploited in this dharna is deplorable. When you go and ask dharna participants, they say Islam is in danger, Imran Khan is here to hoist the Israeli flag and we are here to save Islam. Some other talked of Khatm-e-Nabuwat (SAW) or any likely dominance of Qadianis,” the prime minister said. “Using religion for personal benefit is the biggest sin. I pray that the Maulana is spared the judgment that is waiting for him in the hereafter.”

He said the students of seminaries were compelled to brave the elements while their leadership was enjoying at their luxury houses.

The prime minister said how a person, who could change his loyalties just for chairmanship of the Kashmir Committee or a diesel permit, could lecture on religion.

Commenting on the participation of Shahbaz Sharif and Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in the sit-in, Imran said he had foretold that they (opposition) would gather for having the common interests. But, their interests were totally different from those of the people of Pakistan, the prime minister commented. He applauded Mehmood Khan and Murad Saeed for completing the project on time.