Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday asked the media to give the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government time to settle in before being judged for its actions.
“Give us three months before criticising our performance,” the prime minister said while talking to a select group of senior journalists at the Prime Minister House.
The prime minister promised them three months down the road, there will be a marked difference in the way the country is run.
In addition he also noted that none of his cabinet members was appointed on permanent basis and could be shuffled around based on their performance.
On the relations with the US ahead of an scheduled visit to the country by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the prime minister said the relations would be dictated by mutual respect. “Our relations with the US will based on mutual respect.”
“We will hold talks with the US administration with dignity and respect,” he told journalists.
Imran’s media interaction came a day after he and his top aides received a comprehensive briefing on national security from the top brass at the General Headquarters (GHQ).
About India, the prime minister said his government wanted to develop good relations with the neighbouring country and added his invitation to cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to his oath-taking was part of his efforts to normalise bilateral relations.
Seeking the media’s help in the ongoing accountability process, the prime minister said those facing corruption charges would cry foul but the media should not become part of any propaganda.
Commenting on a controversy involving his use of helicopter to commute between his Bani Gala residence and the Prime Minister House, Imran claimed that the air travel not only saved time and money but also spared commuters and motorists of any hassles on the roads.
“We will take steps to further cut the government’s expenses. As part of our ongoing austerity drive, we will also auction luxury vehicles used by the former governments,” he said.
“We are not facing any undue pressure from any institution. We’re working along with the security institutions in accordance with the Constitution,” he added in reply to a question.
The prime minister welcomed as ‘good omen’ the chief justice’s decision to take suo motu notice of the transfer of Rizwan Gondal, the district police officer (DPO) of Pakpattan.
Imran said he had only directed the Punjab chief secretary to look into the matter and that he was unaware of the details of the incident.
The prime minister defended his pick for the post of Punjab chief minister. He said Usman Buzdar has been selected purely on merit.
“Many people visited me for this position. Everyone who visited me wanted ministry but Usman Buzdar requested for a hospital in his area,” he said.
The prime minister told the journalists his government has been facing many challenges. The major challenge, he said, was circular debt soaring up to Rs1,200b.
“Efficiency of most of our institutions is going down. We aren’t much aware of most of the things because we have never been in the government before.”
During the interaction with senior journalists, the prime minister reportedly refused to take a telephone call from the French president.