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ISLAMABAD, Oct 23 (APP): Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday vowed to bring PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, sentenced for 10-years on corruption charges, back to the country and into the jail, saying even if he had to travel to the United Kingdom and talk to his British counterpart Boris Johnson for the purpose, he would do that.

“We are in contact with the British authorities and are trying to get Nawaz Sharif deported from the UK,” he said in an interview with a private news channel.

“We are in contact with the British authorities and are trying to get Nawaz Sharif deported from the UK”

The prime minister said instead of seeking extradition, his government was talking to the British authorities at official level and fully trying to get Nawaz Sharif deported.

To a question, he recalled how his government had allowed Nawaz Sharif to travel to London for treatment after six hours of discussion in the Federal Cabinet. “I say it with full honesty that I was feeling pity for Nawaz Sharif at that moment and thought he (Nawaz) should travel abroad for treatment,” he remarked.

The prime minister, however, regretted that he should have realized that he (Nawaz Sharif) was used to telling lies as he had done during his exile in Saudi Arabia after the 10-year agreement with President General (Retd) Pervez Musharraf and continued to deny any deal till the Saudi Prince made the agreement public after eight years.

He said the government wanted a Rs 7 billion surety bond from Nawaz Sharif – which was to be presented before the Lahore High Court, before allowing him to leave the country, but the court allowed him to go abroad on the guarantee of Shehbaz Sharif.

The prime minister said unfortunately the Establishment, whose product he (Nawaz) was, and the Judiciary had always favoured Nawaz Sharif. “But now the time has come to bring him (Nawaz) back to face imprisonment,” he stressed.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, in response to a question about the opposition parties claim of ousting his government by December, said nobody could say until when he would remain in power, but he would never spare those thieves (opposition parties) and let them come into power.

“I will bring the whole nation on roads,” he said, adding he had been saying from the very first day that he would not hold talks with them and give any NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to them.

He reiterated his resolve of not giving any NRO to the opposition leaders which they desperately wanted. They could not get the NRO from him in his life. “Even if they dig my grave, I will not give them the NRO.”

“Even if they dig my grave, I will not give them the NRO”

Imran Khan said former president General (R) Musharraf by giving the NRO to the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leadership and allowing Nawaz Sharif to go into exile in Saudi Arabia for 10 years had committed a mistake.

To a question about the pressure from abroad on the issue of Nawaz Sharif, he said India was top among the countries pushing for giving relief to the PML-N leader. “They [India media] are celebrating over the situation in Pakistan,” he remarked.

About the meetings of a PML-N representative with the military leadership, the prime minister said it was in his knowledge. He, however, regretted that the language, being used by the PML-N leaders against the military leadership, was not even used by the enemies.

As regards the civil-military relations, Imran Khan said since there was harmony in the relations between his government and the military establishment as unlike the past it was based on betterment of the country.

Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari, he said, had problems with the military leadership due to their corruption. Nawaz Sharif wanted to control the army and expect them to behave like the Punjab police which the army could not do, he added.

Nawaz Sharif wanted to control the army and expects them to behave like the Punjab police which the army could not do

The prime minister, to another question, said the opposition was not worried about the country or democracy but their worry that the present government had put Pakistan on the right direction.

He referred to his government’s handling of the COVID-19 situation and said the world institutions, including the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Economic Forum, had appreciated Pakistan for its effective strategy over COVID-19.

He said his only tussle with the opposition was that despite having looted billions of the public exchequer, they considered themselves unaccountable and untouchable even after the Supreme Court’s verdict against them.

Not only Nawaz Sharif, but Ishaq Dar, and sons of both Shehbaz Sharif and Nawaz Sharif had also absconded abroad being indifferent to what they had done to the country, he added.

“Their one-point agenda is to pressure Imran Khan to loosen his noose and not have them arrested (for corruption)… They don’t know, throughout my life, I have learnt to sustain pressure. They thought they will get the NRO as they did from Musharraf to save his power,” he said.

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Having failed to pressure him, he added, the opposition parties diverted the pressure towards the army and the judiciary to force him give the NRO to their leaders.

Imran Khan said they had nothing to do what happened to the country or about the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) issue. As a last resort, the opposition had tried to blackmail the government during the legislation to remove Pakistan from the FATF grey list, which could bring about sanctions on the country if moved to the blacklist.

He said 10 years ago and even in his maiden address as prime minister, he had forecast that the opposition parties would unite as soon they came under grip for their corruption.
He said they fled abroad because they owned properties at the costliest location in London.

Quoting the documents of British Virgin Island, he said Maryam Nawaz was the beneficial owner of the London properties, contrary to her false claims of having no such riches abroad or even in Pakistan.

The prime minister said Shehbaz Sharif came back to Pakistan with a thinking that consequent to massive deaths and economic collapse due to COVID-19, the incumbent government would fall.

Following the fresh revelations of his corruption worth Rs 23 billion in two sugar mills cases, Shehbaz would be unable to escape, he responded to a question.

Imran Khan said having exhausted all options, the opposition parties came out to protest, which, he believed, could not hurt his government.

To a question, the prime minister said the PML-N government had surged the country’s loan from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion. The foreign debt swelled from $41 billion to $100 billion, he added.

In such circumstances, the government had to pay half of the country’s revenue to pay back loans, he said.

Commenting on the controversy after the arrest of Safdar Awan in Karachi, he said trivial FIRs would make no difference unless bigger fish were caught who had looted the country.

Asked about the allegation of the abduction of Inspector General of Sindh Police, the prime minister laughed and said, “I think a comedy is going on.”

He reiterated that Nawaz Sharif enjoyed the support of Indian and Israeli lobbies being represented by Hussain Haqqani in the United States.

He said India’s only target was to make Pakistan implode for which it propagated the fake news of civil war in Karachi and launched much anticipated terror attacks against security personnel, sectarian clashes and target killings of religious figures like Maulana Adil khan.

He said following Nawaz Sharif’s anit-army remarks, he was being praised by the Indian media and portrayed as a hero. Even during Nawaz Shrif’s primer ministership, Narendra Modi had called the then Army Chief General Raheel Sharif a terrorist.

Referring to Nawaz’s secret meeting with Modi in Kathmandu, the prime minister said he received intelligence reports on all his meetings.

He said the opposition pressured him to abolish the National Accountability Bureau despite the fact that neither NAB nor courts were under him.

The prime minister said throughout his 26 months of power, his government had strived to enforce the manifesto of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf.

An opposition party’s target must be to get power just to implement its pro-people manifesto, and not to mint money, raise empires and oblige families, he commented.

He said like the resource-rich African countries, Pakistan had also been unfortunate to have been ruled by the people who just protected their own financial interests and left behind a heavily debt-burdened country.

“Our challenge is to develop a debt-burdened Pakistan, reform it and exploit its fullest potential to rather make it give out loans instead of getting from other countries,” he resolved.

Asked about the achievements to accomplish his dream of developing Pakistan on the pattern of Madina Welfare State (Riasat-e-Madina), he said the government had taken various pro-poor initiatives like establishment of shelters, soup kitchens, easy business loans and health insurance cards.

He said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government had announced to provide health insurance cards across all the cities and for Punjab, he would ask the provincial government to first give it to all the poor and then to the middle class people.

He said for the first time, the government had launched a housing loan facility for the low-income groups to make them pay housing loans out of the money they used for house rent.

He thanked the Chief Justice of Pakistan for clearing the foreclosure law to pave way for banks to extend housing loans to the people. He said the beneficiaries would have to pay just 5-7 percent or even lower mark-up on housing loans.

The prime minister said his government’s priority was to get the country out of the quagmire through multiple projects like the construction of Diamer Bhasha and Mohmand dams, massive tree plantation and pro-poor initiatives.

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Regarding notions of any restrictions on media, Imran Khan said the government could not dole out money to the media houses like its predecessors.

He said he knew the journalists and media houses were bribed by the previous regimes but contrary to them, the incumbent government had different priorities so rather preferred to use such money on public welfare projects.

Due to the very reasons, he added, some disgruntled media houses were propagating fake news and highlighting the non-issues.

He said the restrictions on the media could be imposed only by a prime minister who had something to cover up.

“I have never been afraid of a free media. If the media criticizes a wrongdoing by any of my ministers, it will do a favour to me. The free media is an asset. Our problem is propaganda… and fake news or slandering for (sake of) money,” he remarked.

“I have never been afraid of a free media. If the media criticizes a wrongdoing by any of my ministers, it will do a favour to me. The free media is an asset. Our problem is propaganda… and fake news or slandering for (sake of) money”

The prime minister said  the people would witness reduction in inflation within a week and resolved that the government would not make its people face inflation on the hands of powerful cartels.

He argued that devolved under 18th Constitutional Amendment, the food items must be centralized with the Federal Government for a central policy and timely decision making to ensure their required stock.

He said the wheat crisis was caused by reduced crop production due to untimely rains during the last two years.

About the Competition Commission of Pakistan’s report on sugar industry, the prime minister said Sharif and Zardri families owned most of the mills, which were also caught overstating their stocks just to seek export permission.

He said the cartels first created shortage and then increased sugar prices which would be allowed no more.

He said he personally felt the people’s pain caused by inflation particularly after COVID-19 which also impacted their earnings.

Asked whether he would hold talks with the opposition parties to pacify the situation, the prime minister said he was willing to discuss any matter with them but not the NRO.

About the opposition coalition, he said he had been groomed to face the challenges and arose as prime minister following a decades long struggle.

“I am prepared for whatever you do. I am geared up for your street protests. You want to resign (from parliament), I am all set for that. Even, in any case, if election is held, again I am ready. I guarantee…I forecast, if election is held … I will come again with a two-thirds majority,” he resolved.

“if election is held … I will come again with a two-thirds majority”

He said for three years, the opposition had been taunting his party for Naya KP, but in the 2018 general election, the PTI set a record of getting second consecutive term with even two-thirds majority.

Prime Minister Imran Khan, to a question about price-hike and inflation, said since his government was putting in all efforts to address major economic issues such as heavy debt liabilities as well as the fiscal and current account deficits, which it had inherited.

He said his government had succeeded in balancing the fiscal deficit and turning the country’s current account in surplus after 17 years. When he came to power the current account deficit was at US $ 20 billion, he added.

He said the historic sale of cement in September and 29% increase in the sale of motorcycles during the previous months and enhancing exports and decreasing imports depicted economic progress in the country.

The prime minister also mentioned the launching of Bundle Island in Karachi and Ravi River Urban Housing Project in Lahore as his government’s vision of development and wealth creation, and said the projects would attract US $ 40 billion of investment.

He said the PML-N and the PPP governments had left Pakistan on the brink of economic collapse and took the country’s debt from Rs 6,000 billion in 2008 to Rs 30,000 billion in 2018.

The agreements made by them in the energy sector, which caused raise in the prices of electricity and gas and the burden was being faced by common man.

Live feed – Prime Minister Imran Khan’s interview to a private news channel