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February 15, 2020

Not corrupt so no fear of army: PM

Top Story

February 15, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Friday that the Army knows well that neither is he making money nor is he corrupt as he is working hard day and night and therefore, he is not afraid of the Army.

He made it clear that the government is going nowhere and that the agencies knew who was doing what and that was why those who indulged in corruption, had fear of the military, whereas he was neither corrupt nor making money by doing politics. “That is why the Army is standing with me. There is no tension whatsoever between the government and the army,” he explained.

The secret agencies, he noted, were fully aware of the corruption of Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari and they also knew it that he (Imran Khan) was not making money rather working hard day and night for the country.

He said that there should be a high treason case under Article 6 of the Constitution against Maulana Fazlur Rehman for his remarks of conspiring against the government to send it packing.

JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed a few days back that they packed up their sit-in in the federal capital after an understanding was reached with the power brokers that PTI government would be over and the elections would be held within three months.

The prime minister emphasised that there should be an inquiry into his remarks and he should be asked as to who had given him that understanding.

The prime minister said this during interaction with media persons here at the PM House lawns on a bright sunny day. His Special Assistant on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was also present on the occasion.

On the hot issue of recent flour and sugar crisis, he said that the investigation report had been sent back with 20 more questions. However, he maintained that in the report, there was no mention of Jahangir Tareen or Khusro Bakhtyar. He said this when asked as to who controlled the cartel, he had mentioned and whether some close to him might be involved in the recent crises.

The government, he said, would have to take strict action against those elements who were behind artificial price hike of commodities.

The prime minister contended that the opposition was making hue and cry and wished this government not to complete its term but the government is here to say and would complete its term.

“From day one, the opposition is agitating and its claim that the government is nearing its end is aimed at trying to keep the party united. They know well that if we succeed, their term will never come and they will go to jails,” he said.

About the opposition’s protest over price hike of goods, he said that the opposition is a political mafia, which had nothing to do with inflation but were concerned about their own future.

Speaking about the PPP and PML-N regimes, the prime minister said that during the tenures of both these parties, expensive power agreements were signed while the power producers were being supplied gas on half of its price. He conceded that electricity and gas were the biggest challenge for this government.

The prime minister explained before PTI government, very expensive power agreements were real challenge, as agreements of 24 cents were inked while his government had signed one agreement of five cents.

However, he made it clear that there would be no further increase in power tariff and this would have been conveyed to IMF and matters would be agreed upon mutually.

About the state of national economy, he pointed out that the previous ten years of the two governments had a major role in poor economic situation and added during stints of Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, exports were reduced while imports increased massively. He noted PML-N government left behind foreign exchange reserves for just two days imports, saying to save the country from default was a big success of his government.

The prime minister also made mention of the fact that circular debt of Rs1,250 billion was left by the previous government for PTI government. He added an emergency meeting of the power and gas stakeholders were being convened shortly. He noted that PML-N government had also done an expensive LNG agreement for 15 years, while it was available now at half of that price but the country was trapped in such agreements, as the opponents had no care about price hike.

He said the country would have defaulted, had Saudi Arabia, UAE and China not supported Pakistan, as in the first year of PTI government, $10 billion had to be paid back to the donor agencies and that had Pakistan defaulted, one dollar would have cost Rs250 and inflation would have been higher many times. The world, he noted, viewed an economy from the point of its current account deficit (CAD), which stood at $19. 5 billion, when PTI formed government, and if CAD was that much, then things were not good.

The prime minister observed that the progress made on the basis of increase in exports were seen as promising, whereas during PML-N rule, exports were brought down to $20 billion from $24 billion while the trade deficit had reached $40 billion.

He pointed out that during Musharraf regime, Pakistan’s total external debt stood at $40 billion, which went up to $100 billion in ten years of PPP and PM-N regimes and the opponents were fully aware of the situation and its implications.

Speaking on the value of dollar, he noted that PML-N government had injected $20 billion in the market to artificially keep the rupee strong, which worsened the matters. And during PTI government, it reached Rs155, which caused price hike and impacted everything.

Previous year, the prime minister said the current account deficit was cut by 75 percent and the entire world acknowledged the government performance on this count.

About electoral reforms, he said that the government would bring a bill for conducting elections under biometric voting and none should have any objection to it. Likewise, the mode of election of senator was also being changed and it would be through show of hands instead of secret ballot.

Premier Imran Khan said he had given suggestion to former military ruler Musharraf to allow establishment of private television channels and quipped that it was he (Imran) who benefited most from these channels.

The prime minister said he had no camp office and relied on his salary only and paid his bills from his own pocket and he might be the lowest salary-paid prime minister in the world.

He expressed complete dissatisfaction over the performance of the Competition Commission of Pakistan and noted that its chairperson was around on a stay order. However, he added the commission would have to be reformed.

According to the world standards, he said, Pakistan Medical Council was introduced in place of Pakistan Medical and Dental Council, which was not performing well. However, the mafia of private medical colleges stepped in. He added whenever an effort was made for a change in any department, self-serving mafias try to impede the work.

Unlike the opposition parties’ leaders, he said to have faced six cases but he did not flee to London and instead proved money trail of each penny of his halal income.