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ISLAMABAD, Oct 1 (APP):Prime Minister Imran Khan, while lamenting the anti-institutions rhetoric of the PML-N Quaid, Thursday said Nawaz Sharif was playing a dangerous game against Pakistan with the backing of India.

“He (Nawaz Sharif) has 100% backing of India. He is a coward man and can do anything to save his money. He has become another Altaf Hussain,” Imran Khan said in an interview with a private television channel (Samaa TV).

“For God’s sake, open your eyes. See the situation in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and some other countries. If we are safe today, it is due to our army. If we did not have this army, Pakistan would have been disintegrated into three parts,” he remarked.

The prime minister said starting from Gen. Ayub Khan’s martial law in 1958, there was a history of civil-military relations in Pakistan as well as the democratic and military rules.

“But we have to decide whether we have to blame all the institutions for the mistakes of some individuals in the past,” he added.

Imran Khan said with the army fully standing behind the present democratic government, which was pursuing its election and party manifesto and had full support of armed forces, the civil-military relations in Pakistan at present were the best in history.

He said that his party had a stated policy that there was no military solution in Afghanistan, and that Pakistan should not become the part of war against terror. “Today the Pakistan army stands behind my policy.’”

The prime minister said contrary to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had problems with various army chiefs, including General Asif Janjua, General Pervez Musharraf, General Raheel Sharif and then General Qamar Javed Bajwa, he had no problem with the army.

He said whenever any institutions, be it the army or the judiciary, came in the way of Nawaz Sharif’s personal interests, he stood against them. “Their biggest fight has been to control the institutions. That’s why they continue to speak against the army.”

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in response to a question as if he was asked by an ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence) chief to resign like it was done with Nawaz Sharif, said nobody could demand his resignation as he was a democratically elected leader.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in response to another question, said the biggest power was that of morality and in a democratic set-up the government had moral authority, which he (Nawaz Sharif) did not have.

Nawaz Sharif, he said, did not have a democratic mindset, always behaved like a king and did not like anyone to ask anything from him.

To another question, Imran Khan said the running of government was his job and whenever required the army was consulted. “Security issues are dealt by the army in the whole world,” he maintained.

To a query, the prime minister said he did not come from the army’s nursery and was elected by the people of Pakistan from five constituencies. “For me army is an asset,” he remarked.

He said Nawaz Sharif had destroyed all the institutions except the army, a fact which was also mentioned by Justice Asif Saeed Khosa of the Supreme Court in the Panama case.

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“The institution of army in intact,” the prime minister said and credited the army for its role in dealing with the situation of COVID-19 as well as the locusts in Pakistan that won international praise for the country.

When asked as to why he did not call the meeting of opposition parties for consultation on the issue of Gilgit-Baltistan and leaving it to the Army Chief to deal, Imran Khan said since it was a security issue due to the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) vis a vis Indian nefarious designs, a briefing by Gen Bajwa was essential.

The prime minister said the current Bharatiya Janata Paty (BJP)-led government in India was ideologically against Pakistan, they were using Nawaz Sharif to speak against the country’s army.

Imran Khan regretted that Nawaz Sharif left the country by telling lies shamefully about his illness. He had also left Pakistan for taking exile in Saudi Arabia in the past as well through an agreement with General Musharraf and later continued to deny any such deal.

To a question, the prime minister maintained that as he had learnt well not to take pressures from his 22-year political struggle, besides his cricketing career, he would not come under any pressure in case of Nawaz Sharif and would prefer leaving power than granting any NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).

“General Musharraf gave two NROs under pressure to save his power,” he said and added he would prefer to quit the government.

The prime minister recalled his first address to the nation and said he had predicted that the opposition parties would join hands to put pressure on the institutions. “If our country does not stand against them…, it will collapse morally,” he remarked.

He said the PML-N (Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz) and the PPPP (Pakistan People Party Parliamentarians) governed the country for 10 years in such a way that any enemy could not have ruled. The country’s debt swelled from Rs 6 trillion to Rs 30 trillion during the ten years.

The prime minister said owing to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) partisan policy in the past, corruption increased in the country except during the last two years as the previous NAB chairman had protected the Sharif family’s corruption.

Asked why he did not order probe into the assets of his Special Assistant Lt General (Retd) Asim Saleem Bajwa, Imran Khan said he (Bajwa) had presented him a detailed explanation. However, the government could direct an inquiry if anyone else raised any further question on the subject.

He said contrary to his predecessors, he was living in his private residence, and the erection of fence around the residence and road’s construction was funded by the party and from his own resources.

To a question, the prime minister said no other government had faced criticism from the media more than the incumbent government through fake news and propaganda.

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Regarding abduction of Islamabad-based journalist Matiullah Jan, Imran Khan said he neither had anything to do with the incident nor it could have benefited him in any way.

However, he said one should not judge good and bad journalists with same parameters as some media houses played a constructive role while others supported the corrupt and anti-state elements.

He said in pursuance of his vision for an across the board accountability, the government had forwarded the reference against Justice Qazi Faiz Isa to the Supreme Court.

To a query about the growing trend of vulgarity and rape incidents in the society, the prime minister urged the youth to remain stick to the national culture and identity without inspiring from the culture of West, which had suffered a lot after losing family system there.

To a question, he assured that the government was about to introduce a bill for stringent punishment to the rapists and child abusers, who not only destroyed the lives of victims but also of their families and offspring.

Sharing his government’s future plans, the prime minister said the country could not progress without enhancing its exports and reducing the import bill, which had already been started through multiple measures like establishment of special economic zones.

Asked about any strain in Pak-Saudi ties, he said the bilateral ties could never be spoiled. The ties were unchanged, he said and also hinted at his plan to visit the Kingdom.

He said all of his assets were declared and available on the website accessible to anyone. After becoming prime minister, he said, his assets decreased as he had to sell out his inherited property.

Contrarily, he said, Nawaz Sharif started maligning the national institutions whenever asked to provide money trails of his assets.

About the recently held all parties conference’s demand for his resignation, he said it was just meant to protect their looted money.

To a question, he clarified that from the term of umpire’s finger he had used during his 2013 sit-in, he had never meant to invite the military to take over as he believed that the Real Umpire was Allah Almighty.

The prime minister said the government would hold bye-election in all the constituencies if the opposition parties resigned en bloc from the Parliament.

“This is decisive moment for Pakistan. If we succumb to their (opposition) blackmailing, keep in mind, the future generations will never forgive us,” he added.

Imran Khan said he had always taken a bold stand and never succumbed to any pressure while Nawaz Sharif had always tried to appease Modi and held secret meetings with him in Kathmandu just to protect his business interests.

He believed that no leader with his financial interests abroad, could never take a bold stance as they could squeeze him at any time.

Asked about the upcoming Senate election, he said it would give the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf an advantage for legislation by turning it into majority.