Prime Minister Imran Khan Tuesday categorically stated that Pakistan would not resume talks with India till it restored the special status of the occupied Kashmir.
“Unless India reverts its August 5, 2019 action, Pakistan will not hold talks,” he said in a live telephonic call session with the general public.. Imran Khan said the Hindu supremacist ideology of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of India was being condemned at the international level.
He lauded the role of Pakistan’s Foreign Office in leading a full campaign to highlight the Kashmir issue globally. The prime minister swore that as long as he was alive, he would not spare the Sharif family, as his prime goal was to make Pakistan a great nation by making the corrupt and powerful mafia accountable to the law.
“Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif attacked the Supreme Court with sticks and the then Chief Justice Sajjad Ali Shah had to run to save his life,” he said. He said Nawaz Sharif bribed the other judges of the Supreme Court so that they could oust the chief justice. He said a nation was destroyed when the state head stole its money.
“Shehbaz Sharif is trying to flee abroad. A case of massive money laundering has been registered against him. Yes, there are other cases. I will never give NRO to anyone; I have no fear. I only fear Allah; I am accountable to Him. People here are rotting in jails and we let them (Sharifs) go,” he maintained.
Imran said the biggest problem of Pakistan was non-existence of the rule of law, which was founded by Justice Munir and since then justice had never come.
He said the fight for the rule of law started when former president General Pervez Musharraf fired a chief justice and ‘I am proud that I fought against the move of Musharraf and I was jailed and since that time, the change started taking place.’ Imran said while he was jailed, two main leaders fled the country to live in their grand palaces.
“To make the powerful accountable to law is a Jihad. We will make the corrupt political leaders and mafias surrender before the rule of law,” he said. This was the third such interactive session titled ‘Aap ka Wazir-e-Azam, Aap ke Sath’, in which the prime minister took live phone calls and responded to the public questions.
Imran vowed to uphold the supremacy of law and justice to make Pakistan great. A nation, he said, could not become strong unless it empowered its weaker sections, and that was the reason he had joined politics and named his political party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf after justice.
He said the government was firm to ensure socio-economic justice in the country. “We are nearing our destination and I will fight these mafias and win,” he said. The prime minister said a nation whose leaders and prime ministers stole money could not prosper, as it weakened the country’s economy.
He maintained that the country was destroyed when the chief or powerful class stole money and that money was sent abroad through money laundering. He said the FACTI Panel of the United Nations had revealed that some $1,000 billion was illegally transferred from poor to rich countries annually.
Imran asked the public to report cases of illegal land grabbing directly to him and mentioned that the government had cleared 21,000 acres of land worth Rs27 billion from such mafia.
He recalled that the PMLN leader Maryam Nawaz sided with a land grabber when the government cleared the state land from his illegal occupation after thorough investigation into the records. He said land laws had been reformed in Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to settle the litigation issues within one year, and assured that delay in that regard in Punjab would also be taken into view.
The prime minister said his government did not interfere with the working of the judiciary and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), as it wanted the rule of law in its true spirit. On accountability of his party leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, he dismissed the impression that any injustice or victimisation was made in his case.
Imran said if he could not do injustice even to his opponent then how could he could do injustice to Jahangir Khan Tareen. He pledged that those involved in the price hike of sugar would be punished.
He said the sugar mafia extorted Rs5 billion from the pockets of the masses by increasing its price by one rupee (per kilogram). “The sugar industrialists paid Rs22 billion as tax in five years but got Rs29 billion on account of subsidy. There will be no concessions to any mafia,” he added.
“I am answerable to Almighty Allah. How can I put the poor in jails and set the powerful free?” he asked. Imran said cartels and monopoly as witnessed in the case of sugar mills resulted in inflation.
The appointment of Shaukat Tarin as finance minister was aimed at controlling inflation and increasing the growth rate, he added. On petroleum prices, he said the government had kept its price lower as compared to India, Indonesia, Sri Lanka, China, United States, Turkey, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Bhutan so as to avoid burden on consumers.
Worldwide, he said, the prices of commodities went up during the pandemic, including gas by 60 percent, food 29%, metal 41%, crude oil 84%, cotton 44%, palm oil 54.8%, soya bean oil 36.6% and sugar 14.5%.
According to a Bloomberg report on food inflation and agricultural sub-index, Pakistan still kept the prices low, he added. Imran appealed to the nation to fully follow precautions to contain the spread of the third wave of coronavirus, particularly during the Eid holidays.
“I request you to follow the standard operating procedures and particularly use facemasks. Take care of your elderly so as to avoid lockdown,” he said. To a question on reduction of timings in bazaars leading to more crowd, he said the schedule could be reviewed in consultation with the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC).
He said Pakistan was working on producing its own COVID-19 vaccine and the “good news in this regard was in the offing”. Imran announced establishment of a dedicated portal for the overseas Pakistanis to be headed by the foreign minister, where complaints could be lodged directly if an embassy or foreign mission did not respond to their pleas.
He said the portal would be advertised soon where a special officer would be working under the foreign minister as a focal person to deal with the complaints. He said the Foreign Office was working well in the area of diplomacy.
The government was focusing on two areas — consular services and attracting foreign investment. He, however, admitted that his recent interaction with the diplomats deployed at missions abroad, where he had pointed out the shortcomings, should not have gone on air for public consumption.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said with solid steps, the government had achieved remarkable economic growth in diverse sectors. Through reforms, the economic losses of public corporations had been reduced from Rs286 billion to Rs143 billion, the current account deficit remained in surplus for the last 10 months and the foreign exchange reserves increased to $15.6 billion.
“During the pandemic situation when the whole world is facing financial crunch, our government has saved the economy,” he said. He acknowledged that the financial assistance from Saudi Arabia and China also helped Pakistan gain economic stability.
Imran said now the rupee had strengthened against the dollar at Rs152, exports increased by 13.5 percent, the Euro bond helped gain $2.5 billion and the revenue of Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) rose by 11 percent.
The textile and cement industries, he said, witnessed a boom, while the local car manufacturing was recorded at 18 percent. The Karachi Stock Exchange showed a bullish trend by 66 percent increase as per Bloomberg and the information technology exports increased by 44 percent.
Imran said Pakistan had immense potential in the agriculture sector and the government would announce reforms every two weeks aimed at introducing advanced growing modes and directly facilitating the farmers. He said 65 percent of the farmers owned less than five acres of land and the government wanted to help them through incentives such as Kisan Card and subsidy.
The private sector would be involved in technique learning of farmers and seed development, he added. In view of increase in population, he said, the government had started thinking of a long-term food security plan, including increased production of wheat and milk.
The prime minister said about Rs1,100 billion was given to the farmers in lieu of direct subsidy on seeds and fertilisers, which resulted in high production of sugarcane and corn by 22 and 27 percent, respectively.
Imran said incentives in the housing sector had encouraged economic activity and the banks were offering loans for construction of houses. He acknowledged the role of courts in the passage of foreclosure law of banks, which, he said, had greatly helped in materialisation of the low-cost housing projects.
Responding to a caller who complained about delay in a housing project for government employees in Bhara Kahu, he advised his staff to note the matter for further pursuance.
To overcome issues of water shortage and sanitation, he said, the government was making master plans of cities and had also allowed vertical construction to accommodate maximum population.
Imran Khan said lack of planning and civic infrastructure had led to improper expansion of metropolitan cities. Dams were being constructed to overcome water scarcity, he said, adding a special arrangement for water supply to Islamabad was in progress.
Imran Khan said smuggling was a big problem at the borders with Iran and Afghanistan. Smuggling of Iranian petrol that was earlier causing huge financial loss had been completely stopped, he added.
He said establishment of markets at both borders would encourage traders to involve in economic activity and refrain from smuggling. Responding to a caller who complained to the prime minister of leaving Karachi at the mercy of the provincial government, Imran Khan said following the 18th Constitutional Amendment, around 57 percent of resources were directly going to the provinces.
The federal government, however, was ready to provide assistance to the province, he said, and announced that a Sindh package had been prepared for its development. The prime minister said for the first time in the country’s history, a government was taking steps for a clean and green environment.
He said plantation of one billion trees in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and launch of the Miyawaki method for urban forestation were steps for saving the future generations. To tap the immense potential of Pakistan’s natural beauty, he said, 20 new tourist destinations were being prepared.
The prime minister strongly condemned the Israeli atrocities carried out on 27th Ramazan against the innocent Palestinians and stressed joint efforts of the Muslim nations to highlight the issue at international level.
Imran said as all of his cabinet members were not “super stars”, anyone not performing well would be replaced. The prime minister will hold the next live telephonic interaction with the public after Eid.