ISLAMABAD, Mar 4 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday expressed the determination to continue his struggle for rule of law and purging the country of corruption and the corrupt till he was alive and even did not remain in power.
“If I do not remain in power or sit on opposition benches, it does not make any difference to me. I will continue struggling for rule of law, and fighting these thieves and dacoits till I am alive,” Imran Khan said while addressing the nation on radio and television.
The prime minister described the opposition parties’ use of undemocratic tactics to get Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani elected on a Senate seat (from the Federal Capital) in a move to pressurize him and frighten him from the no confidence [motion], saying he was going to take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on Saturday (March 6).
He said as voting on the confidence motion would be open, even the Members of National Assembly (MNAs) belonging to the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf (PTI) could vote against him if they did not support him and “I will go to the opposition [benches]”.
The prime minister said if he did not remain in power he would take the nation out against corruption and the corrupt. “The people do not come out for the corrupt but against the corrupt and corruption.”
He expressed his conviction that Pakistan was bound to emerge as a great nation in accordance with the dreams of its founding fathers. “This country will go up, and these big thieves and dacoits will be behind the bars,” he maintained.
The prime minister mentioned the video and audio leaks of Ali Haider Gilani [son of Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani] depicting the distribution of money among some members of the Parliament ahead of the Senate elections, and questioned whether it was democracy.
The whole drama staged by the opposition parties in favour of secret ballot and opposing open ballot in the Senate elections, he said, was only to get Yusuf Raza Glani elected as a senator through unfair means.
“If there was an open ballot, the PTI’s candidate would have been elected in the Senate elections [on general seat from the Federal Capital],” he remarked.
Imran Khan regretted that despite agreeing on the holding of Senate elections through open ballot in the Charter of Democracy (COD) signed by the two parties i.e.the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and also in later statements, they now opposed the idea of open balloting to pave the way for corruption.
He said since he was opposed to secret balloting in the Senate elections, his government introduced a bill in the Parliament for open ballot and also approached the Supreme Court for that purpose.
He, however, added that the opposition parties not only opposed the government’s bill in the National Assembly but also stood against the idea of open ballot during the Supreme Court’s hearing.
The prime minister also regretted that the Election Commission of Pakistan, which was responsible for transparent Senate elections, also favoured secret ballot during the Supreme Court proceedings.
“If there was an option of identification on ballot papers through a bar-code, our 15 to 18 members would not have been sold.” The secret ballot [in the Senate elections] had hurt democracy. he added.
Imran Khan said when a senator was elected by spending lot of money, how he / she could serve democracy. “What examples we are setting for our generations,” he remarked.
He said the whole nation knew that Syed Yusuf Raza Glani was a man, who being a prime minister in the past did not write a letter to the authorities in Switzerland for the repatriation of $ 60 million despite the instructions of Supreme Court and preferred to be disqualified.
“If that money of around Rs 8 to 9 billion [stashed abroad through illegal means] would have come back to the country, it would have been used for the construction of schools, hospitals and other things,” the prime minister remarked.
The opposition parties, he added, were now celebrating the election of a person as senator, who was disqualified in the past for not obeying the orders of the apex court.
“They are thinking that if they will hang a sword of no-confidence on me, I will give them an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance),” Imran Khan said. He was going to take a vote of confidence from the National Assembly on March 6, he told the nation.
“Those, who have indulged in taking and giving money [in the Senate elections], should also think about the life hereafter,” he remarked.
The prime minster said with corruption and corrupt practices in the Senate elections continuing for the last 30 to 40 years, the PTI stood against them in 2018 and took strict action against its 20 Members of Provincial Assembly (MPAs) in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“Is it democracy that the people in Senate, which is the Upper House of Parliament, are elected through unfair means and use of money?” he questioned.
Imran Khan said since he came to power the opposition parties had been trying to pressurize him either it was the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) legislation or the issue of open ballot in the Senate elections to get an NRO.
Imran Khan said being in politics for the last 25 years, he was the only politician who had never bowed to any pressure or blackmailing.
“Even General Musharraf [former President] got pressurized by these parties, and gave them the NRO,” he remarked.
The prime minister said contrary to his father and other people of that generation, who were born in British India, he like other fellow citizens of his generation was proud of being born in an independent country.
“If we look at 50 to 55 years back, Pakistan was a country, when the United States president used to welcome our president at the airport,” he said and added that however, the 1985 elections, which were held on non-party basis and money was used in those polls, were a turning point for the country.
The prime minister said a country was not destroyed due to the petty corruption at lower tiers, but only after its prime ministers or ministers indulged in corruption as well as in loot and plunder of the public money.
The countries, he stressed, could only achieve development and progress through the rule of law for the rich and the poor alike. “If the laws for the rich and the poor are different in a country, then it is destined to destruction,” he remarked.
Imran Khan said Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) established the State of Madina on the principle of rule of law and once declared that even if his daughter found involved in stealing, she would be punished.
He said the media should also play its role in discouraging the corrupt politicians.
“Some big people and journalists asked the court to allow Nawaz Sharif to deliver speeches on the media,” he added.
“How a convicted person [Nawaz Sharif], who is also an absconder and went abroad by telling lies, and whose children live in palaces there like they were born in Buckingham Palace, can be allowed?,” the prime minister questioned.
He further asked with the use of money in the Senate elections, what message was being given to the young generation about democracy.
Imran Khan said the corrupt leaders made billions of rupees through commissions and kickbacks in major power and other development projects, and stashed the same abroad, putting the country under heavy debt.
When the country came under debt burden, it put pressure on the value of local currency, and caused inflation and price-hike for the common man, he added.
The prime minister said his government despite cutting the cost of running government and leveling the revenue and expenditure had to pay 50% of the country’s revenue for payment of loans, taken by the previous governments.