Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan dispelled the impression that the ISI is behind his party’s recent rise in popularity or the success of its political campaign, during a press conference on Saturday.
“I don’t believe in dictation from the military nor does the PTI believe in support from hidden forces,” he emphasised, referring to the ISI and the army.
“We are strong believers in democracy which restrains the military from poking its nose in the civilian government’s affairs,” he said.
“PTI will disassociate Pakistan from the war on terror led by the US and declare war against corruption, which has destroyed our economy like the plague.”
He vowed to halt drone attacks and block NATO supplies and reiterated that his government, if voted into power, would close all US bases and intelligence centres in Pakistan and cancel visas issued to CIA operatives.
He also announced a 100-day plan to make Pakistan a ‘corruption-free state.’
The timing of the press conference coincides with calls for mid-term elections by the opposition and moves to form a grand alliance to overthrow the government.
According to the PTI chief, the new plan he unfurled envisages strategic action on multiple levels to tackle the menace of terrorism, corruption, unemployment and inflation on a priority basis.
He pledged to end military operations and withdraw troops from Swat and Fata and hand over responsibility for law and order in volatile areas to the Frontier Corps, a paramilitary force officered by the army.
He also promised to set up a special commission to investigate human rights violations in Fata and Swat and determine the nature and scale of compensation to innocent victims and their relatives.
Politicians and government officials in possession of foreign bank accounts or properties will be forced to declare their assets and sources of income, failing which they will be banned from holding public office, he said.
He declared that special perks and privileges extended to the president, PM, ministers and parliamentarians would be abolished.
Judges of the superior judiciary will be appointed through a judicial commission without interference from parliamentarians and restructured public service commissions will be empowered to appoint government officials, he added. He said his party would declare an education emergency. Allocations for education will be increased at the rate of two per cent annually.
Responding to a question on the opposition, he advised PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif to quit politics over his failure to fulfill his commitments during his dual term as the country’s premier.
“His brand of politics is focused on the yellow cab scheme rather than on alleviating people’s miseries,” he said.
He reiterated his party would not join the grand opposition alliance against the government.
Khan said that special tax incentives would be announced for overseas Pakistanis to encourage investment in the country. A national energy authority will be established under the PM’s purview. Better management, control of theft and wastage, and revamping power plants can improve efficiency by 50 per cent, he claimed.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 10th, 2011.