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March 5, 2021

Won’t let looters run even if out of power: Imran

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March 5, 2021

ISLAMABAD: Terming the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) leaders corrupt and traitor, Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said whether he remained in power or not he won’t spare anyone of them unless they coughed up the nation’s looted money. In his over 30-minute address on the state-run media, Imran said he wanted to put some facts before the nation and the young generation about his 25-year struggle against corruption and to ensure transparency in elections and how the opposition tried to block it through various tactics to get an NRO from him.

Addressing the opposition towards the end of his address, he said, “My message to you all is that I will not let anyone of you go. I will take public out of their homes, as this nation does not come out for protection of the looted money: you tried to do so but I will show you how people will come out”.

He also made it clear that as long as he was alive, he would work for the rule of law.

“I will fight against those who steal the money of the country and take it out. This country will be a great country and it will be when all these big bandits are in prison,” he remarked.

He said the opposition leaders send the stolen money out of the country, which causes double damage to the country.

He reiterated that there would be no blackmail or NRO for the opposition.

“My message to the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) is that I don’t care if I go out of power. The government only spends money on my travel and security and the rest is borne by myself; I live in my own home. The country is facing difficult times and people face hunger,” he noted.

Referring to the March 3 Senate elections, he emphasised that if the nation understands the Senate elections, then all the problems of the country will be understood.

He added if the Senate election had been held through open ballot, the PTI would have got as many seats as it was supposed to get.

“The opposition invested money in the Senate seat from Islamabad just to hang a sword of no-confidence motion over me to blackmail me and show as if I have lost support of the majority,” he said.

“They thought, when they will hang a no-confidence sword over me, I will say the power is so dear to me. But I am going to the assembly and I ask my members it is your democratic right and raise your hands that I am not capable and eligible, I will respect you. And will go to opposition. But my message to PDM leaders is that it makes no difference to me; I have not built factories or posted my relatives to key positions. I live in my own home. For I fear Allah. I saved the country’s money. I spent ten times lesser on my travel broad,” he remarked.

He challenged that give him example of a single country, which had made progress with its prime minister and ministers being corrupt or VIPs rotting in jails and this common in all the poor countries.

About Yusuf Raza Gilani’s win against Dr. Abdul Hafeez Sheikh, he noted that there were celebrations, as if they had clinched a major victory on Gilani becoming a senator, the same one, who was disqualified by the Supreme Court, when he was asked to write a letter to Swiss government about return of dollars 60 million stashed in their banks but he showed loyalty to Zardari and did not comply with the apex court order.

Addressing the Election Commission of Pakistan, he said to organise clean and transparent elections was the constitutional responsibility of the Election Commission.

“First of all, I do not understand why the Election Commission went to the Supreme Court and said that there should be a secret ballot. Does any constitution allow bribery? Does the constitution allow theft?” he remarked.

“When the Supreme Court gave you a chance and asked you to keep the election secret but keep the method of identifying the ballot, for example today if we want to know that who are those 15, 16 people, who sold their conscience? But you saved them by allowing secret ballots. You have damaged our democracy and morality. What kind of democracy is this where a senator can be made by paying money,” he wondered.

He continued and asked the Election Commission what example they were setting for our young population.

“Money is running in front of the whole country, video of money is running. Earlier, the video of taking money in the 2018 election was played. Don’t you know that it was your responsibility to investigate? All the agencies are under you. This spectacle happened in front of everyone. When the leadership of a country will take and give bribe, how can you say that Patwari and Thanedar would be fair,” he remarked.

“You are bringing corrupt people in mainstream. The law alone can’t eliminate corruption from the society and the society collectively has to rise against it. I ask the nation, if you accept these main dacoits, then is it the responsibility of Imran Khan alone to go after them. We have accepted corruption and today have reached this position,” he maintained.

Quoting a Chinese proverb ‘A fish rots from the head down”, he said, “The ECP knew that corrupt practices were adopted and he had already said that offers were being made. The Supreme Court gave you an opportunity but what was the reason you could not apply (affix) bar code to 1500 ballots and gave full chance for democracy to be discredited. I have a question for you to tell, has democracy gone up or down after this Senate election.”

Imran said the Election Commission gave an opportunity to de-credit democracy. What happened to it? Did our democracy go up or down today? You have damaged the morals of the country. You have no idea how much money has been spent in the Senate elections. Whoever spends crores of rupees to become a senator will serve the country? Where will he recover this money?

He emphasised that money had been used in the Senate elections for 30, 40 years and recalled six years back when PTI was in power in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, they took part in Senate elections and then he had an idea that money was used in these polls and it had been going on for 30, 40 years now.

“Money goes to the Senate elections. Members of Parliament are bought. Senators become senators by spending money and he launched a campaign for open ballot.”

He said that in the 2018 Senate elections, 20 of PTI members sold their conscience and were expelled from the party.

He said two major political parties had signed the Charter of Democracy saying that there should be an open ballot but this time all were in favor of the secret ballot despite having moved a bill for open ballot in one of the Houses.

The prime minister said when these parties did not abide by the open ballot, they had to seek the opinion of the Supreme Court but also moved a constitutional amendment bill, which was not supported by the opposition. The Supreme Court also said that money runs in the Senate polls.

He said all of them (opposition leaders) were trying to put pressure on him so that he could raise his hands like Musharraf and give them NRO.

“I had said in my first speech that they will all come together, which they did and they tried to blackmail me and again when legislation was brought regarding the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), as Pakistan was put in the gray list during the opposition government tenure and now could be placed in the black list, if their conditions were not met, which meant sanctions and devaluation of rupee and more inflation.

He said the opposition linked their support to the bill on fulfilling their conditions of doing away with the NAB, whereas it had nothing to do with the FATF.