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Can’t meet criminal Shahbaz Sharif: PM Khan

The prime minister said that he did not consider (Shabaz Sharif) as an opposition leader rather he treated him as man who had committed serious crimes against the nation and country.

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Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday categorically said that he would not meet Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif, because it would amount to compromising over Sharif family’s crimes.

During the fifth session of live “Aap Ka Wazir Azam Aap Key Sath’ programme, the prime minister said that he would not give Sharif’s family any NRO because doing so would be huge treason with the country.

The prime minister said that he did not consider (Shabaz Sharif) as an opposition leader rather he treated him as man who had committed serious crimes against the nation and country.

Responding to a query, the prime minister said an opposition leader had a stature but in the instant case, Shahbaz Sharif was delivering lengthy speeches in the parliament without caring to give reply to a number of graft and corruption cases pending with the courts.

He did not want to respond to Ramzan sugar mills case, transferring of Rs3.7 billion in the account of a peon Maqsood and Rs16 billion in the accounts of other servants. They were accounted for Rs8 billion cases pending with NAB, he added.

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The prime minister said that Sharif family should take some pity on this country. Expressing his wonder, he said by using delaying tactics in the courts, what kind of service they were rendering to the democracy and setting example for a civilized society!

“If I meet him, it will amount to acceptance of their wrongdoings (corruption) as no longer a punishable crime in a civilized society,” he stressed.

The prime minister said that he wanted the nation to imbibe the basic principles taught by the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) regarding rule of law and equal treatment of all segments of society.

He stressed that as followers of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), the nation should follow those principles.

He regretted that different trends had been set in the society for the powerful and the weak. The ordinary criminals had been languishing in the jails and the powerful elite was residing outside the country. Those criminals had been showered with flower petals.

If such were the standards in society, then set the jails open for the ordinary criminals, he said, adding that he was ready to talk to everyone including TLP and Balochs, but would not talk to such elements who had siphoned off the country’s wealth, the prime minister elaborated.

He said according to the World Bank rule of law index, Switzerland topped the list with 100 percent score. In Singapore, a minister committed suicide due to his corruption and in the US a powerful family also followed the same course to avoid public shame.

“Unless we follow the path of our Holy Prophet (PBUH), we cannot aspire to get prosperity,” he said, adding (Imran Khan) had no magic wand to set the wrong things right. The prime minister opined that a society had to fight such crimes and trends.

To another question, he invited the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to return back and face the criminal cases. “I am waiting for your return to Pakistan, please return back,” he added.

About the opposition parties’ proposed march, the prime minister said the public would not come out on the streets to save their corruption.

He said the public had come out on the streets to support two leaders in the country, one Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and then came out to support him in his campaign against corruption.

The prime minister said not a single party in the country ever brought supporters in huge numbers to Minar-e-Pakistan, and it was the PTI that did it by four times.

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He said the corrupt junta could not befool the public anymore. Though there was an issue of price hike but the public would not come out on the streets as they understood two families’ theft and corruption.

The prime minister further said that his party would complete its current term in power and would also return to government in the next term, owing to tackling of historic and huge economic challenges faced by any past government in the country’s history.

He also warned the opposition parties that he would become more dangerous in case he did not remain in power.

“You will not find any place to hide. Whatever you have done with the country, the people knew it very well, the volcano is brewing. They will flee the country and hide in London,” he added.

Referring to Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister said he would not return back to Pakistan out of his love for the ill-gotten pelf.

Often, they floated rumours of deals to save their party from disintegration, he said, adding they were the elements whose time had run out.

“The way they treated the country, the nation is not ready to pardon them,” he observed.

The prime minister said a three-time prime minister, had been expressing his ignorance about the illegal accumulated wealth and the properties in UK worth billion of rupees. Even his sons were declaring themselves as citizens of UK to evade accountability, he added.

The prime minister responding to another question, reiterated that Allah Almighty had bestowed upon him with everything. He had entered into politics, some 25 years back. The party’s manifesto included the establishment of an Islamic welfare state.

The framers of the country’s constitution had inserted such ideology, he said, adding his whole life-long struggle hovered around the achievement of this objective.

He emphasized that unless they move on that objective, they could not become a nation.

The prime minister said from the day first, he had not promised to make Pakistan an Asian tiger or turn Lahore into a Singapore. The correction of mess and issues of the past seventy years would take time, he added.

The prime minister ruled out any compromise with the corrupt leaders terming them as ‘the big dacoits of the country’.

He said that they wanted to blackmail him. But he would not grant them any NRO of Musharraf who by striking a deal with these two families had done grave injustice with the nation, worse than his imposition of martial law.

Due to such deal, the nation had to suffer. They now wanted to blackmail his government so that in the end, there could be a deal like Musharraf’s NRO, he said and compared such an act to committing the biggest treason with the country.

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Responding to another question, he said that he wanted the young people to keep in mind Hadiths about the rule of law and verses from the Holy Quran over the duty of Muslim regarding spread of virtue and crushing of evil in a society.

He observed that if the nation understood these teachings, they would resolve many issues.

The prime minister said Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah had been a follower of those principles.

The doctrine of necessity was created for the powerful and elite classes, he said, the cells in jails were filled with the ordinary criminals while the powerful dacoits were roaming freely, he regretted.

The prime minister underlined the need for the society to face such challenges and make endeavours to crush the evil tendencies in the society which made the people to treat the corrupt elements as politicians and personalities. In that case, the people would have fears from committing crimes.

The prime minister said that former prime minister along with his sons was residing outside the countries in billions of dollars worth properties in the UK. While his finance minister, Ishaq Dar was also residing there along with his kins.

He further said that the two royal families in the country had been given VIP treatment which Aitzaz Ahsan had rightly termed as Sharif’s doctrine.

They had bribed the judges in the past, that’s why Justice Khosa of the Supreme Court had equated them with the Sicilian mafia, he added.

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Previously, the prime minister had held four such like live Tv sessions with the public last year. About 86 questions, 74 on telephone calls and 12 others via social media, were responded by the prime minister during these sessions.

The prime minister to a question said his political opponents were raising hue and cry over the price hike to save their skins from accountability.

Citing a World Bank’s report, he said which acknowledged that government had succeeded in reducing poverty in the four categories.

Country’s GDP had been increased by 5.37 per cent despite the coronavirus challenge, which was also hurtling the global world economies. In India the growth rate had been in the negative, he added.

But on the other hand, they had been hearing opposition parties’ chorus joined by certain media persons, lamenting that the country had been destroyed, he added.

Enumerating the achievements of his government, the prime minister said that construction sector was witnessing the boom and the private banks were extending loans to the low-income group.

The government had got the issue of pending foreclosure law resolved through the courts. About 290 billion rupees loans were sought by the applicants and out of which a total of 123 billion rupees loans had been approved. A sum of Rs40 billion loan was released to the applicants from the low-income group to construct their homes.

Besides, the prime minister said the government was constructing 45,000 housing units, and the private sector had launched 324 projects envisaging the construction of 3 million houses.

He said with such economic activities, 30 allied industries with the construction sector were also being benefitted.

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The prime minister said with the bumper crops, the people in villages had earned Rs1400 billion and witnessing an increase of Rs165,000 in the total income of per head.

The large-scale manufacturing witnessed a growth of 10 percent. The vehicle and tactor production and sale of motorcycles had increased. The total tax collection reached to over 6000 billion rupees. The private sector offtake reached to 930 billion rupees that also sought a loan of worth Rs1.1 trillion.

Due to incentives granted to IT sector, its export had surged. Record exports worth 31 billion dollars were recorded with remittances soaring up to 30 billion dollars, he maintained.

The prime minister further said that the Economist magazine had ranked Pakistan as among the top three countries whose economy was performing well with sustainable growth in the last three years.

To another question by a caller, the prime minister said through the health card every family was being extended facility of Rs1 million free of cost treatment. In Punjab alone, 400 billion rupees had been allocated for the purpose. No one ever thought of spending such huge amounts on the social sector in the past. He termed it as Pakistan’s biggest social network system.

The prime minister said that the private sector would be encouraged with provision of low-cost lands for construction of health facilities and import of duty-free equipment.

The prime minister said positive criticism was a good thing and stressed upon differentiating between propaganda, fake news and reality.

He said certain mafia had been spreading disappointment in the society by negatively projecting the economic picture of Pakistan. They had the vested interests to dislodge the government at any cost, the prime minister observed, regretting that certain media persons were also spreading depression.

Contrary to their claims, the Bloomberg journal had put Pakistan as a country moving on a sustainable path, he added.

He said the global inflation and price hike of commodities triggered by sharp disruption in the supply and demand chain, due to Covid 19 pandemic, had affected all the countries of the world alike including Pakistan.

The post-Covid scenario sent the prices of vital commodities skyrocketing and Pakistan was not the only country in the world to bear the brunt of imported global price hike, he added.

To a question of Saeeda, a resident of Rawalpindi, the prime minister said that it was an age of IT and mobile cells and within one hour, he got the information about the public issues.

He admitted that the price hike was the major issue that often kept him awake. The prime minister said a good journalism always kept the people abreast of the latest situation and urged the need of projecting the issue with its true perspective.

He said when his government came to power, the current account deficit was around 20 billion dollars causing pressure on the value of rupee. Its devaluation added to the price hike.

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The UK was hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic. In Pakistan, they rolled out 8 billion dollars during the pandemic whereas the US had extended 6000 billion dollars to its people.

The global food prices had been at the highest level in a decade. In the US, prices of commodities hit the 40 years highest mark, in Japan prices of commodities jacked up to 30 years highest level and the palm oil price was at the peak level.

In Europe, the prices of food had been at the highest peak in the last 30 years, he said, adding the fertilizer shortage was adding to fears of food and edible shortage in different parts of the world.

Due to pandemic, the richest countries had been suffering, he said and referred to Canada where 40 percent of population feared running out of resources to afford food.  In the US people had been standing in queues to purchase food, he added.

The prime minister said that global surge in the petroleum prices had also contributed to increase in prices of electricity and transport.

Out of this scenario, he said the salaried class unfortunately, had also been affected.

The prime minister assured that the salaried class and the government servants would be provided with relief once the government revenues increased with collection of tax.

The prime minister also appealed to the corporate sector to extend benefits to their employees after earning billion rupees profit. Their offtake reached to over 1,000 billion rupees, he added.

He also appealed to the nation to wear masks to tackle the new wave of Omicron variant as it was spreading at faster pace.

The prime minister said that the government was bringing reforms in the Criminal Justice System for the first time in the country’s history.

He further said that different cartels and mafias had been active in the country making huge windfalls through hoarding and price hike.

The prime minister said that eight regulators in the country had informed that these cartels had got 800 stay orders from different courts. An amount of 250 billion rupees had been stuck up due to such litigation.

According to FBR, he said, 2500 billion rupees cases were lingering on due to litigation.

The 19,000 customs related cases were also pending involving billions of rupees, he said, adding the country suffered due to the theft of powerful.

The prime minister said that he would give good news to the nation in the next few months.

He also enumerated the challenges faced by his government in the initial period ranging from dwindling foreign reserves, fiscal deficit, power circular debt etc. and the successful efforts to steer the country out of those challenges.

To another question, he said that through the mini-budget they wanted to document the economy as the exemptions were misused by certain people to evade taxes.

Out of 220 million population, only 2 million had been paying taxes. If they did not pay tax, the country could not achieve progress, he said, adding now with the introduction of FBR’s track and trace system, they had got the data of those people living in luxurious homes and affording big vehicles but paying zero taxes

He said the government would give them an opportunity to contribute to the progress of the country by paying taxes.

The prime minister said in US, if you evade tax, you would land directly in the jails. India had the double tax collection, he said, urging the citizens to pay tax to steer the country out of poverty.

The prime minister said the government for the first time, had introduced single syllabus upto class five.

The prime minister also lauded the efforts of all the government departments, civil and military for overcoming the coronavirus pandemic.

During previous four Tv sessions, the callers had raised different issues pertaining to corruption, land grabbing, inflation, coronavirus, Riyasat-i-Madina etc., besides giving certain suggestions.

The highest participation in these sessions was made by the callers from Punjab province followed by Islamabad Capital Territory, Sindh and KPK. About 11 per cent among these participants were overseas Pakistanis.

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Major redressal of the public grievances included inheritance share of land as raised by  a resident of Kohat, improvement of traffic system in Lahore, construction of RHC at a land donated by a resident of Sarai Alamgir for which the government of Punjab had allocated Rs30 million for the proposed scheme, water logging issue due to Gojra main drain in Faisalabad, stone crushing pollution issue at Ghora Gali etc road, corruption in the utility store, passport issue at Pakistan embassy in Germany and initiation of criminal proceedings related to encroached land  of an overseas Pakistani.

Issuance of prompt directions and resolution of their grievances by the prime minister had been widely appreciated by the participants who had also expressed their acknowledgment and gratitude to the prime minister.

Courtesy: APP