ISLAMABAD, Nov 13 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Thursday said by targeting the military leadership, the opposition leaders were conspiring to instigate a coup within the army and pursue Indian designs of disintegrating the country.

“Their interests are opposed to those of Pakistan.

He (Nawaz Sharif) targeted the Army Chief and the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) Director General. They are instigating coup within the army.

What could be bigger treason than that. You are telling that the army is good except these two persons,” he said in a interview with a private television channel (GNN).

He said while sitting in the luxury London flat, Nawaz Sharif was attempting to create differences within the army and the judiciary.

To a question, he said though the intelligence agencies had all the information about Nawaz Sharif’s activities abroad, including his meetings, but it was very difficult to prove the treason case in courts based on their reports.

He said Hussain Haqqani was running Nawaz Sharif’s communication strategy, who was well known for his anti-Pakistan and anti-army role.

He said just like the Indian strategy, the opposition leaders were trying to discredit the Pakistan Army, which would be tantamount to disintegrating the state into three parts.

He said during the last 73 years, India never had an anti-Muslim and anti-Pakistan government like Narendra Modi’s, which wanted a hybrid warfare in Pakistan.

The designs such as planting spies like Kulbhushan Jhadav were part of the attempts to destabilise Pakistan.

He said unlike Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and Libya, Pakistan stood safe just because of a strong army and nuclear arms.

Asked whether he was satisfied over his performance, Imran Khan said, “I am completely satisfied. I never made such hard work before.

I didn’t even avail a single leave during the last two years and worked more than my capacity.”

To a question, the prime minister said after assuming the office, his life had been limited between the PM Office and home with no private visits even to meet his children in London.

He, however, admitted that his government should not have waited long to approach the International Monetary Fund as the delay had impacted the economy adversely. Secondly, the government could have taken the decisions on power sector reforms far earlier, if it had assessed the worseness of the situation.

The prime minister said in order to cover up their theft and corruption, the previous rulers weakened the national institutions like the FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) and the SECP (Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan), besides politcising the bureaucracy.

He said many people in Pakistan had joined politics just to make money and not for any legislation, but whenever they were made accountable for their corruption, they played the card of political victimization.

Referring to the previous tenures of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), the prime minister said their governments were removed on corruption charges leveled by each other.

Except the money laundering case involving Shehbaz Sharif, not even a single case was constituted by the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government against the opposition leaders.

He, however, added that the conviction in white collar crimes was a very difficult task and exemplified Malaysia where it took two and a half years for Dr Mahathir to convict his predecessor Dr Najib for his corruption.

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He said all, including Nawaz Sharif’s sons, Ishaq Dar and Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law, had absconded abroad before the PTI government; however Nawaz Sharif cheated the government to go abroad on the pretext of illness.

He said having failed to blackmail him even on the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) related legislation for getting an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), the opposition leaders had resorted to targeting the army and the judiciary just to save the public money looted by them.

“I will never let them go without recovering the looted money, even if it cost my office,” he said.

However, he said the government’s anti-corruption institutions like the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency) and Anti-Corruption Department had dug out some corruption cases against them which would be mind boggling for many.

The said departments, he added, had not only revealed the corruption by the opposition leaders but also their frontmen, who had been used to illegally occupy the lands and raising illegal buildings.

He said in his maiden address as prime minister, he had forecast that the opposition leaders would unite once they were caught for their corruption.
Asked about any foreign pressure to show leniency towards the Sharif family, he said only a prime minister with properties abroad would succumb to any such pressure.

“I am to live and die in Pakistan,” he remarked and again resolved not to let them go even if they overthrow him. He said Musharraf gave them the NRO just to save his power.

He said during the last two years, the most hurting moment for him was to beg money from abroad to stablilzie the national economy. However, the time was not far when Pakistan would support other nations instead of seeking support.

To a question, Imran Khan said Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had no corruption case against her and she was required in Punjab to project the provincial government’s performance. Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s weakness was not being media-savvy, who could not project his achievements despite doing a fabulous job.

Having come from the most backward area, Buzdar knew well the problems faced by the poor, he added.

Rebutting the allegations of nepotism against the Punjab chief minister, the prime minister assured that no major contract could be given to any crony as he was personally overseeing the affairs.

However, he said the reforms in the administrative structure would take some time as the officers appointed by the previous rulers also resisted the incumbent government’s development agenda.

He said just based on the PTI government’s performance, the KP people re-elected the party with a two-third majority that was unprecedented.

The prime minister said the reshuffle in Punjab Police top slots was to ensure the arrest of land mafia and big criminals.

Refuting the host’s observation on Rawalpindi Ring Road project, Imran Khan clarified that it had nothing to do with Usman Buzdar, and guaranteed that he would never allow the wastage of taxpayers’ money.

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The prime minister said Pakistan’s future was linked with China and China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC). The country would have to follow the Chinese development model for progress, he added.

Regarding the arrest of Captain (Retd) Safdar for political sloganeering at the Quaid’s Mausoleum and the controversy about the Inspector General of Sindh Police, he opined that he would not have acted against the PML-N leader because they used such small cases to put their major corruption scams to the back-burner.

Referring to the flour crisis, the prime minister reiterated that the untimely rains impacted the wheat crop, besides the misreporting and delayed release of wheat stock by the Sindh government also led to the situation.

He viewed that under the 18th Constitutional Amendment, food and agriculture should have been left to be the federal subject for a central policy.

However, he said the government had decided to use the services of SUPARCO for assessing the crop volume through satellite imagery.

The prime minister said except the food basket, the overall economic indicators were improving, including the stock market, rupee value, Moody’s ratings, increased sale of cement and cars, and booming construction activity.

Moving the conversation to the second wave of coronavirus, Imran Khan again advised the people to wear the masks. He, however, assured that the government would not take any step to hurt the economy like the closure of businesses or factories.

Touching the foreign policy issues, the prime minister said though there had been some pressure to recognize Israel, he never had second thought on Pakistan’s firm stance of no such possibility till the just settlement of the Palestine dispute.

Rubbishing the opposition’s criticism on his Kashmir policy, Imran Khan asked Nawaz Sharif to “keep his mouth shut” as he had never uttered something on Kashmir. He (Nawaz) even refused to meet the Hurriyat leadership in India and had barred the Foreign Office to desist from targeting India.

About the situation in Indian Illegally Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the prime minister said after the unilateral action of August 5, 2019, India had exhausted all options but contrary to their expectations, the Kashmiris were getting further firm and united.

However, he viewed that Kashmir would get freedom through political movement as no pro-Indian leader could do politics there anymore.

He said unlike Kashmir, Nagorno Karabakh was an internationally recognized part of Azerbaijan and the country had acted boldly to regain its part.

The prime minister also defended his government’s decision to grant provisional provincial status to Gilgit Baltistan, saying it would uplift the area and further details would be revealed after the elections.

Asked about the possible impacts of change in the United States administration, Imran Khan feared that the situation in the US might get worse over the controversy on poll results.

He, however, hoped the Joe Biden would not change the policy on Afghanistan but his position on Iran and Israel would become clear with the time.