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September 26, 2020

PM Imran Khan tells opposition: ‘I’ll hold elections if you all resign’

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September 26, 2020

PM Imran Khan tells opposition: ‘I’ll hold elections if you all resign’

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said he was ready for by-elections if the opposition resigned from the National Assembly and the PTI’s opponents won’t be able to win a single seat that they vacate.

He also blamed the opposition for working on an agenda to break the existing harmony between the country’s powerful military and his government. “This is for the first time that the military and government are working in total harmony and this has gravely upset the opposition,” he told a group of senior journalists during a talk at the Prime Minister’s House.

“Military implements what I tell it to do and always lends its support whenever required by my government,” he said in a tone brimming with confidence. The prime minister said the harmony between the government and the military had been made possible because the army and its premier intelligence agency picked up evidence of corruption by the governments of Zardari and Nawaz and it was his (the PM’s) agenda to purge corruption from Pakistan.

He dismissed the opposition’s move to launch a public campaign to seek his resignation and the action plan announced earlier this week by the All Parties Conference in Islamabad. “I am not scared of the opposition, if they resign from the assemblies, I will hold elections on their vacant seats and they will not win a single seat in the by-elections”.

Khan said the opposition lacked the power to muster street agitation and had sought the support of Maulana Fazlur Rehman because he had a readymade audience. The prime minister said Nawaz Sharif was desperate after losing power and was emerging as a spoiler,” he remarked. Imran added that he shouldn’t have allowed Nawaz Sharif’s speech to be telecast live by a moral yardstick, but if he had blocked the speech, it would have become a freedom of expression issue in the country.

“So I let it go,” the PM said. He remarked that Nawaz Sharif’s speech was widely publicized in India because it served New Delhi’s agenda. He said both PML-N and PPP were family parties and they knew they had no chance in elections and that the parties should explain“why they repeatedly entice GHQ support,” referring to the military headquarters.

He admitted that his government had struggled with its communication strategy and that “Sometimes our ministers apni he taraf gol kardaitay hain”. He said there were only four people in his government who were competent to speak about economy and each of them was overburdened with work and unable to regularly appear in the media.

“Other than Hafeez Sheikh, Khusro Bakhtiar, Hammad Azhar and Asad (Umar), we have no one. And Hammad is a rising star.” The PM said Pakistan would emerge from its current financial troubles within two or three years.

On rising food inflation, particularly of wheat flour, he cited incorrect data being fed to the federal government as being chiefly responsible for the lack of price controls. “Agriculture should not have been given to the provinces under the 18th amendment because it holds centrality to the country’s economy,” the prime minister said.

He said gas shortage would be addressed by government subsidies on cylinder gas and that he was not in favour of expanding gas supply through pipelines. The prime minister said when he took office, he was briefed by the police chiefs about rising sex crimes in Pakistan.

He blamed the influx of Indian and western films into society as being responsible for spread of vulgarity and sex crimes in the country. The PM said he had asked his SAPM Gen Asim Bajwa (R) to draft a new film policy that would promote Pakistani culture and counter vulgarity.

Mumtaz Alvi adds: “Whenever there is a problem, the army stands behind the government. Nawaz Sharif wants to break this historic harmony between the government and the army,” he added.

“Whether the issue is related to Afghanistan or India, whether it is related to a pilot, whether it is related to Kartarpur, the army follows my policy; whenever there is a problem, the army stands behind the government,” he said.

The Gilgit-Baltistan meeting, he pointed out, was related to security, as India was trying to spread unrest there. “I know the meetings of the military leadership. What can I say about those who meet secretly with the military leadership? I do not see any political future for Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari. Both the parties cannot run whether it is "N" or "S" that is why they run towards the GHQ,” he said.

He said former president Pervez Musharraf had made a mistake by giving NRO. “I had left Pervez Musharraf on giving an NRO; U-turn is always for one purpose. I admit my government lacks communication with the media. Yes, I have used the most street power in Pakistan; I know how to use the most street power.”