Desperate to see losing his seat of power in the wake of the opposition’s upcoming no-confidence motion against him, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday maintained that he would rather give up his government than “compromising on his conscience”.
Out of sheer frustration, the premier even urged the dissident PTI lawmakers to return to the ruling party’s fold, saying that he was ready to forgive them like a “compassionate father”.
“A decisive moment has arrived in the country’s history -- whether you [the nation] choose ‘bandits’ or those striving to end the menace of corruption in the country,” an embattled premier said while addressing a public gathering in Dargai – a small town in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa’s Malakand district.
The premier maintained that he was asked by the party members to bring back the dissenting lawmakers by “buying them off” using government’s resources.
“If the government is to be saved by plundering nation’s wealth or by compromising on conscience, then I curse it.”
Referring to the opposition parties, the prime minister claimed that they had been offering bribes to the lawmakers to switch their loyalty and party affiliation with their ill-gotten wealth.
LIVE #APPNews : Prime Minister @ImranKhanPTI addressing public gathering in Dargai #Malakand @PakPMO https://t.co/HFqpzZjj5z— APP 🇵🇰 (@appcsocialmedia) March 20, 2022
PM Imran said the people knew the faces of the “three stooges” from the opposition – PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman – who had been “stealing” for years and facing corruption cases.
“The judiciary, Election Commission of Pakistan [ECP], and the nation are observing the situation. The veil has been lifted from the eyes of the nation,” the premier said, adding that opposition leaders would "badly lose this match" against him.
He said those legislators, who had been elected to safeguard public interests, had “sold out” their conscience for wealth. “They have not only sold out their country and nation, but also their faith.”
The premier claimed that in Sindh House, bags of money were distributed among members of parliament, likening it to a “funeral of democracy”.
He added that it was an obligation for the nation to stand up and raise its voice against such tactics. The rattled premier went as far as to warn dissenting PTI members to return to the party’s fold or face social boycott.
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“People will not trust you… the youth are aware of whatever is happening in the country. This is the age of social media where it is difficult to hide anything,” he added.
The premier also warned the estranged lawmakers of dire consequences if they “sold their conscience” and cast their vote against the party line in the lower house of parliament.
“People will forever dub you [dissenting MNAs] as people who sold their conscience. Your children will be unable to find spouses and they will be ridiculed at school,” he remarked.
“You are destroying the future of your children by accepting this money.”
The prime minister, while sharing his experience of life in the UK, said he had never heard of members of parliament selling their loyalties as they had strong democratic values and political insight. “They never thought of such tactics.”
PM Imran even lauded India for having an "independent foreign policy", which was favourable to its own people.
He maintained that like India -- which imported oil from Russia despite US sanctions and despite being an ally of the Americans -- his foreign policy would also favour the people of Pakistan.
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“I haven’t bowed before anyone and will not let my nation bow either.”
The premier maintained that he said “absolutely not” to the European Union envoys, who had sought Islamabad’s support against Moscow in the Russia-Ukraine conflict because "they broke protocol by making the request".
He added that Pakistan would have gained nothing by complying with the EU's request.
“We became part of America’s war against terror in Afghanistan and lost 80,000 people and $100 billion.
He asked Shehbaz as to what had Pakistan gained from the war on terror.
The prime minister emphasised that he was not like Shehbaz who “polished boots when he saw a white man in a suit”.
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“I am a free man when I read the kalma, I took an oath that I will not bow before anyone but God,” PM Imran reiterated.
He maintained that the “hypocrites” – referring to the opposition – would never stand for their nation because they “worship money”.
According to the premier, the nation would never progress if it remained a "slave" to the world’s superpowers, and would only prosper when it stood on its own feet.
“For these 3.5 years [of the PTI government], we have only tried to help Pakistan prosper,” PM Imran claimed. “No past government has achieved this feat.”
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