PM Imran dares opposition to move no-trust
Imran says no-trust move constitutional way to bring down govt
Prime Minister Imran Khan told the opposition parties on Wednesday that the constitutional way to bring a government down was to move a no-confidence motion in parliament and asked the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to do so if it wanted.
Talking informally to journalists in Sialkot, the prime minister said that his government never backed down from a national dialogue, for which parliament was the best forum, where he would answer to all the questions.
Imran undertook a daylong visit to the industrial city of Sialkot, during which he inaugurated AirSial, the country’s third airline in the private sector, launched several development projects worth billions of rupees and attended a ceremony organised by the local businessmen.
In his media chat, the prime minister criticised PDM President Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s call for resignations from the assemblies. He repeated his earlier statement that if the opposition handed in resignations, “we will hold by-elections on those [vacant] seats and will emerge even stronger”.
“I do not understand what they [opposition] want to achieve,” he said. "If they want the government to fall, bring a no-confidence motion in the assemblies,” he added. “If the opposition resigned, we will emerge [even] stronger by holding by-elections.”
The prime minister said that he had never backed down from the national dialogue. “The best place for political dialogue is parliament. I am ready to answer questions in parliament. Democracy will only work when there is dialogue,” he added.
However, he again repeated that he was not prepared to discusses corruption cases with the opposition. “We don’t have any issues. We are ready to talk on any matter,” he said, but added that there would be no talks on NRO under any circumstances.
The prime minister was confident that the opposition would not be able to do anything more than the political rallies against the government. “Even though, these 11 parties together cannot hold a meeting as big as the [ruling] PTI’s rallies,” he said, referring to the 11-party PDM alliance.
Imran said that his government’s biggest achievement was to save the country from bankruptcy. “They [past governments] left the country in debt and [at the brink of] bankruptcy,” he said. “Now, our economy is going up after a lot of hard work. The economy is growing in spite of difficult times.”
On a personal note, he said, he was happy to give health card to the people, adding: “We have decided to provide health insurance to every citizen of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.” He also said that the purpose of making the Shaukat Khanum Hospital was to treat the poor free of charge.
Speaking about the challenges, the prime minister said unemployment was the biggest problem, but “we are happy that labour is getting jobs”. He added: “Industries all over the world had been affected by coronavirus outbreak, but our construction sector is providing employment.”
Responding to a question, Imran said that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Bazdar had a weakness that he could not publicise his good work. Therefore, he said, Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan had been made the special assistant to the chief minister on information for better publicity of the development projects.
He pointed that only Rs 6 billion was recovered in Punjab in the last 10 years but in the past 27 months, “we have recovered Rs 207 billion”. He said that big mafias, who had joined hands with the PML-N, were being apprehended. “Their cries are not about democracy but they fear that they all will be caught.”
Air Sial launched
Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated the AirSial – launched and operated by the Sialkot's business community. Initially the airline would operate flights to and from Sialkot, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar, with a fleet of three Airbus A320-200.
Accompanied by federal ministers Hammad Azhar, Ghulam Sarwar, Adviser Razak Dawood, Special Assistant Usman Dar, Chief Minister Buzdar and Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, the prime minister cut the ribbon to launch the airline.
Known for producing sports goods particularly the world's finest footballs, Sialkot has taken another lead by launching the airline, after it had established the first privately-owned airport in the country in 2007 – funded by the city's business community.
The prime minister said that the airline was an “excellent initiative” which would give the much-needed competition to the Pakistan International Airlines (PIA). He congratulated the Sialkot business community for building an airport, and expressed the hope that they would run the airline efficiently.
“When you told me of this [airline], I had no doubt that it would benefit Pakistan in every way,” Imran said. Furthermore, it would benefit the business community of Sialkot – the city on its way to becoming “Pakistan’s centre of exports”, he added.
Later, the prime minister attended a ceremony organised by the Sialkot business community. Speaking on the occasion, the prime minister promised to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country to lift people out of poverty.
He reiterated the federal government’s pledge to reduce poverty and help the less-developed areas, including the former tribal areas (ex-Fata), Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) and some districts of Balochistan and Punjab.
“Pakistan will follow China as a model to lift the people out of poverty,” the prime minister told the ceremony. He stressed the importance of industrialisation and said that Pakistan’s industrialisation was faster than many countries of the world.
He stressed the need for increasing exports and curtailing imports in order to solve the problem of foreign reserves. “When imports increase and exports decrease, it puts pressure on our economy, increasing our current account deficit,” he said.
Linking the progress of businesses in the country to a contained coronavirus situation, the prime minister urged the people to wear masks and take precautionary measures. “We can save our country, our industries and our people if we take proper precautions,” he said.
Referring to rallies and gatherings being held by the opposition, Imran said: “The same opposition that criticised me for not imposing a complete lockdown – giving India as an example – is now holding rallies everywhere despite the increase in Covid-19 cases.”
During the visit, the prime minister also launched various development projects worth Rs17 billion, including ground-breaking ceremony for city's sewage system and water supply scheme, recreational parks for general public and a ceremony for provision of the solid waste disposal machinery.
He also addressed the cheque distribution ceremony of the Kamyab Jawan programme, and promised a comprehensive development plan for Sialkot. He said that the government would fully support the youth while establishing the SMEs. “This will create job opportunities,” he said.