Zardari is my first target: PM

Imran says he will not spare any opposition leader after defeating no-trust motion

Our Correspondent March 09, 2022


A confident-looking Imran Khan on Wednesday warned the joint opposition that the no-trust motion filed against him would sound the death knell for them.

In the same breath, the prime minister assured his supporters and allies that he had plans for his political rivals after defeating their political game.

Addressing party workers and supporters at the Governor’s House during his daylong visit to Karachi, he turned his “guns” on Asif Zardari, the co-chairman of the PPP, and said that the former president was his first target.

“My first target, who has been under my radar for a long time, is Asif Ali Zardari,” the prime minister told the audience. “He [Zardari] has used the police and thugs to get people killed and is involved in corruption and sending money abroad,” Imran added.

“Asif Zardari your time has come,” Imran thundered, the prime minister said that the opposition “was now stuck” after submitting the no-confidence motion, adding that failure of the motion would mark the opposition’s political demise.

“The looters are trembling, the opposition is now stuck and the kaptaan [captain] has made preparations for them when they failed. I will go after them; I will not spare them,” Imran said, firing a broadside against the opposition leaders.

Imran came to Karachi a day after the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) and other parties in the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) alliance submitted the no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly Secretariat.

During the visit, the prime minister also visited the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) head offices in Bahadurabad and held a meeting with a delegation of Grand Democratic Alliance (GDA) – both allies of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) from Sindh.

In his speech at the Governor’s House, the prime minister said that one of the PTI members of the National Assembly (MNA) was recently offered Rs200 million by the PPP leader to vote for the no-confidence motion. “I told him [the MNA] that he should have taken it because it was ill-gotten money and used it for some charity work.”

Mocking the PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the prime minister said that Asif Zardari should teach his son, at least, how to speak correct Urdu. “Even an Englishman learns to speak Urdu in two years,” he further said.

The prime minister also berated Opposition Leader in National Assembly and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif, calling him a “boot polisher”. Imran said that Shehbaz came up with new excuse every time to avoid his court hearing.

“You [Shehbaz Sharif] know that you would be in prison after three months,” Imran said. “Your time has come as well,” he continued. He also said that he would reduce electricity tariff further after “retrieving the looted public money from Shehbaz’s son and son-in-law”.

The prime minister said that JUI-F chief Fazlur Rehman, who had also sided with them, had assets worth billions of rupees, though he had no business. He added that they had been sucking the blood of the country for 30 years and now they had come together, not to save the country but to save themselves.

Read: MQM-P assures PM Imran of 'full support' ahead of no-trust move

“When NAB [the National Accountability Bureau] summons Fazlur Rehman, he says that he will bring 2,000 people,” Imran said. “If he brings 2,000 people, I can bring 100,000 workers,” the prime minister told the audience.

Imran mentioned that there were 400 US drone strikes in the country during the 10 years of Zardari and Nawaz Sharif’s rule but they never spoke against it. “Because their stolen money is lying outside and they worship them, where their money is. They will never stand for the national interest,” he added.

The prime minster reiterated his earlier statements that he would not spare the opposition leaders. Previously, he added, “My hands were tied but now they are untied. I will not stop after winning against this no-confidence motion.”

Imran said that he was trying to stabilise the economy for the past three-and-a-half years and had been carrying out his political struggle against such “looters” for the past 25 years. “I am fighting for my country,” he added. “I am not doing politics, I have been doing a jihad.”

Commenting on the domestic economic situation, the prime minister said that the country was moving in the right direction, adding that due to the government measures, exports, tax collection and remittances were at the highest level in the country’s history besides a record agricultural production.

“The country was on the verge of bankruptcy [when the PTI came to power]. First, we got the country out of difficult situations and then we successfully dealt with coronavirus crisis,” he said, adding the timely measures were taken to prevent the negative fallout of the rupee depreciation against the dollar.

“The conflict in Ukraine had pushed up the prices of wheat, oil, gas and coal [in the international markets], but we have also been able to save our nation from this situation,” he continued. About the fuel prices, he said that diesel and petrol in Pakistan was cheaper than in Dubai.

“The prices of petrol and diesel have been reduced by Rs10 and the effects of inflation had been reduced. Our people have paid record tax due to which the government has benefited the masses. Today the country is on the right track, which is why these looters are afraid. They are afraid that if this government came out of every difficulty successfully, then what will happen to them.”

The prime minister said that by filing the no-confidence motion, the opposition had done “what I have been praying for… that somehow I could get hold of them by their necks”. He added that the opposition had fallen into a trap.

“Before, my hands were tied, sometimes with the coronavirus pandemic and sometimes with international affairs. “Their no-confidence motion will fail but I will not stop, I will go after them and I will not spare them,” he said.

Referring to the opposition’s criticism over his remarks about European Union, the prime minister said that Pakistan wanted friendship with all the countries and not against any country but “we will not allow any country to take any action against our country”.

“I have reminded the EU that Pakistan was their ally in the war against terrorism and we sacrificed 80,000 lives, our tribal areas were destroyed, 3.5 million people were displaced but the world did not recognise our role,” he said. “We are with those seeking peace, but not with those who support war.

The prime minister announced during his address that he would tour interior Sindh “soon”. He emphasised that his mission was to rid the province of the injustices committed by the “Zardari mafia” for the past 14 years. “People of Sindh want freedom from dacoit Zardari,” he said.



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