PM says won’t accept ‘imported govt’ in Pakistan

Imran hints at public campaign; expresses disappointment at SC ignoring threat letter, horse trading

Our Correspondent April 08, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the nation on April 8. SCREENGRAB


Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday announced that he would not recognise an “imported government” after his expected ouster through a no-confidence motion; instead he would go to public and begin struggle against a foreign-backed set-up in the country.

Urging the masses to come out against the “imported government” on Sunday night, Imran pledged in his televised address to the nation that he would not sit idly by and continue struggle against the foreign intervention into Pakistan’s internal matters.

This is the first time when the prime minister – who is facing a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly on Saturday (today) – openly talked about his future plans – going to the public. Hitherto, he has been promising to turn the tables on the opposition parties at the last minute.

Speaking a day after the Supreme Court set aside National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri’s ruling of rejecting the no-confidence motion against the prime minister and the subsequent dissolution of the assembly, Imran said he “accepted” the apex court’s judgment.

However, he expressed his disappointment at the decision for not entertaining the issue of foreign conspiracy aimed at toppling his government. He regretted that the apex court didn’t even see the evidence of foreign conspiracy.

The prime minister said that he wished the court had at least ordered a probe into the “threatening letter” and taken suo motu notice of the brazen horse-trading, which had been going on at the Centre and in Punjab.

“It [horse-trading] doesn’t happen even in the banana republics,” he regretted. “No democracy anywhere in the world allows such open buying and selling of lawmakers.”

“I’m only disappointed to the extent that the Supreme Court didn’t even say a word about horse trading,” Imran said, adding that he never saw anything like this in any Western democracies.

On the “cypher message” that the Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US sent to Islamabad after meeting with US officials, Imran said he wanted to share the letter but he couldn’t because the code of the coded message would become know and the world will come to know about Pakistan’s code.

Recalling the contents of the communication, parts of which have already been discussed at length, Imran lamented that it was insulting for the 220 million people of the country that a US official was dictating terms.

He repeatedly asked the nation to decide if they wanted to live on the terms dictated by others. If the answer was affirmative, he asked, what was the purpose of celebrating Pakistan Day on March 23 and Independence Day on August 14 every year.

In his address, Imran stressed that the nation would have to decide what kind of Pakistan they wanted to live in. He also emphasised that the masses need to protect democracy and sovereignty of the country and not the army.

While urging the people to stand with the leadership, he said that Pakistan should not be treated as a nation which could be used like a tissue paper. He emphasised that one-sided relationship would not work anymore.

Accusing the joint opposition of seeking power to protect their own interests, Imran predicted that his political rivals, after coming to power, would close down the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), quash corruption cases, reverse legislation pertaining to electoral voting machines and deprive the 9 million overseas Pakistanis of the voting rights.

In his address, Imran lauded India’s independent foreign policy, saying that no superpower had the audacity to tell India to change its foreign policy. Despite pressure and sanctions on Russia, he said, India didn’t stop importing oil from Russia, because it felt that it was the best decision for its people.

Expressing that he knew India better than other politicians, Imran regretted that Pakistan and India did not have good relations because of the latter’s “RSS ideology and what happened in Kashmir”.

Moving on to foreign wars, Imran said that “I cannot sacrifice my people for any other nation”, adding that the previous rulers had decided to involve Pakistan in the US war on terror but only the rulers got dollars for the decision and the people got nothing in return.

“When you [collaborate] with someone for money, they do not respect you,” he said, recalling that the US did not even appreciate Pakistan, rather imposed sanctions after the Cold War period. He regretted that the rulers committed the same mistake again after 9/11 incident as its huge economic and human losses were not even appreciated despite it being standing with the US in Afghanistan.

Addressing the youth, Imran said that he wanted to tell the youth that the future, democracy and country’s sovereignty was in their hands. He said that no army or foreign power could protect democracy; only the nation could do so.

He emphasised that he wanted to have cordial relations with all the countries but not at the cost of compromising on the country’s sovereignty. He admitted that the “spectacle” that was taking place at the moment was a huge setback for his dream of seeing Pakistan become a great country.

He said that the West wanted to oust him because it knew him the best and had a profile on him. He added that they wanted to remove him from the government because of his opposition to drone strikes, his opposing stance on the Iraq war and his consistent stance that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

Read more: Constitution reigns supreme

Among other reasons, he said that the West knew that Imran can’t be controlled because neither he has stolen money nor assets abroad, adding that the West surely knew that the opposition leader would go to any extent for saving their money and interests.

“They [the West] know that I cannot become their puppet,” he said, “all this drama is being done to remove one man.”

PM rules out resignation

During a meeting with lawmakers of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on the eve of the National Assembly session in light of the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling, Imran appeared no less determined to fight the opposition’s no-confidence motion against him.

The prime minister doubled down on his tough stance, as he told his party’s National Assembly members (MNAs) that “we are not going anywhere”, adding that resignation would be tantamount to making the “foreign conspiracy a success”.

He said the opposition leader would not be able to wear achkan – a tongue-in-cheek reference to the joint opposition’s desire of fielding Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif as the candidate for the post of prime minister.

While highlighting how the purported conspiracy was hatched to overthrow his regime, Imran vowed to “compete with the opposition at every level”, insisting that those who played an instrumental role in the “external conspiracy” had been exposed.

The prime minister noted that the opposition was “scared” of going to the public. The lawmakers reposed full confidence in Imran’s leadership, saying that they stood with him. They also decided to go to their constituencies to inform the people about the foreign conspiracy to topple the government.

The meeting also discussed the political situation in depth and decided to intensify its public outreach campaign by holding rallies in all districts of the country to take the people into confidence against external interference.

Separately, in an interview with state-run Pakistan Television (PTV), Imran said that the nation needed to safeguard its sovereignty at a time when the country was facing a ‘conspiracy’ for regime change. He highlighted the untapped potential of the country, contrasting it with leaders who had the “mindset of beggars cannot be choosers”, saying that they usurped the people’s potential.

He said that in Pakistani society, corrupt leaders, “in connivance with the corrupt set-up and the media” ended the distinction between good and bad. “Nations always emerge through self-esteem, Pakistan has a great potential,” he remarked. “This nation will rise anytime, we are yet on the course to become a nation.”

Responding to a question, Imran said that the State of Medina could not be replicated all of a sudden, rather the entire nation would have to play its role, although every struggle was led by a very few people initially.

He added that Pakistan could not become a great nation unless it reverted to its basic objective of becoming an Islamic welfare state. “Unfortunately, we deviated from those objectives and never tried to follow those principles which consequently led to ethnic and provincial bias,” he said.

As the interviewer recalled his decades-old struggle against Islamophobia after 9/11, Imran said that he witnessed its growth, which prompted a reaction from Muslims. “We are a country which spearheaded a resolution which led to the designation of March 15 as the International Day to Combat Islamophobia by the United Nations,” he added.




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