Army more important than me, says Imran

If Nawaz Sharif is brought back under a new NRO, I will bring people out on streets to protest against it, warns ex-PM


Hasaan Ali Khan April 20, 2022
Former prime minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: EXPRESS

KARACHI:

 

The chief of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has said that the army is far more important for this country than Imran Khan, but inimical forces were out to weaken this disciplined institution.

He said we never talked against the army. We have to strengthen this force even while the enemy will keep targeting it.

The PTI chairman was addressing a record breaking Twitter space session late Wednesday night with at least 166,000 people attending it.

He said he will hit the streets with the masses to oppose tooth and nail any bid to give former prime minister Nawaz Sharif a second NRO (a political amnesty). He claimed that Sharif had tried to weaken the army while in power.

He said Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif apprehend a fate similar to what Russian oligarchs are experiencing now.

Squashing claims bearing negative connotations against pivotal institutions of the country that hold the “corridors of power”, Imran said only a few elements indulged in corrupt practices and not the entire institution.

“If one person makes a mistake, it does not mean that the whole institution is at fault. There are also humans [in institutions]... if one or two individuals do something wrong, the entire institution is not responsible for their act.”

Apart from relaying his views pertaining to the prevailing political situation of the country, Imran also answered questions of the participants.

Shedding light on why the conspiracy against (late) PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto succeeded, the ex-premier cited lack of social media back then. He described social media as a strong and viable tool for free speech and connecting with the masses without fear of any censorship in today’s age.

Responding to a question about prospects of PTI being disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan in the foreign funding case, Imran assured his followers that “there is nothing” in the case that could prove his party wrong.

“ECP won’t find anything. It will be proved that we didn’t do anything wrong,” he said, adding that his party has no trust in the ECP because the chief election commissioner’s judgments have always been anti-PTI.

He also reiterated his call for hearing the foreign funding cases of the three parties (PTI, PML-N and PPP) simultaneously which will make it clear that PTI had a proper system of funding.A participant of the space session also urged Imran to wear a bulletproof jacket and protect himself inside a bulletproof glass-shield while addressing rallies.

To which, he replied that “Life is in the hands of Allah. A person can take precautions but never protect himself completely. I cannot confine myself to a room.”

Another user urged the PTI chairman to upload a video on the party’s official social media handles every now and then, instructing followers to not abuse and spread hatred against the armed forces which would prove to be a helpful strategy.

Replying to a query of the party’s inclination towards electables when elections draw near, Imran made it clear that only electables whose ideology matches with PTI’s and who stood with the party in difficult times, will be given tickets.

Lambasting some former PTI members who were part of the government, the ex-PM said they were under the belief that the government will make their business grow in a wrongful way but we did not.
"That's why we faced issues because we stopped them. If sugar prices suddenly increased by Rs26 per kilo then we tried to stop it ... these people have exposed themselves.”

He recalled how it was a pain to pass any bill or legislation due to persistent blackmailing by coalition partners who were only interested in development funds. “These were the most difficult 3.5 years of my life. The fragile coalition members were not loyal nor the backbenchers.”Imran laid emphasis on how a person’s morals must be strong so that they do not even think of earning unlawful and illegal money.

“Parliamentary democracy doesn’t work due to the morals of people.”Towards the end of the space session, Imran apprised the participants that he felt a nationalistic feeling among the masses ahead of the Minar-e-Pakistan jalsa in Lahore on Thursday (today).He urged everyone to reach by Iftari as the roads will be blocked due to traffic jams. “We will create history on a historic place.”

Imran Khan said that if former prime minister Nawaz Sharif comes back and gets another ‘NRO’, he will not accept it and bring people out on streets.

"It will discredit judicial system as no one would believe in it... everyone will say the wealthy can get away with anything in Pakistan," he added.

He said that in third world countries, they only catch small thieves and not the big ones but in the first world, there is no such thing. "You cannot imagine prime ministers making factories there... rule of law is the biggest issue in Pakistan," he added.

Imran Khan said that there are big mafias in Pakistan and his government was bringing them under the rule of law.

To a question about dissenting PTI members, Imran Khan said that they thought when PTI would come into power, the government will make their businesses grow [in a wrongful way] but we did not.

"That's why we faced issues because we stopped them. If sugar prices suddenly increased by Rs26 per kilo then we tried to stop it ... these people have exposed themselves," he added.

'Army more important than Imran Khan'

Imran Khan said that if the country’s youth accepts the "foreign conspiracy" then in future the whole generation would be seeking visa of rich countries. "If corrupt people come into power like this then there is no future," he added.

To a question about memes on social media, the former prime minister said that he doesn't watch television anymore nor does he get time to read newspaper but he sees things on social media these days.

Imran Khan urged his followers not to say anything bad about the armed forces of Pakistan. "If there was no army, there will be no Pakistan... Pakistan needed army more than Imran Khan," he added.

He said that the enemies of Pakistan are attacking the army and during their tenures Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari tried to undermine the army. "When Nawaz was abroad, he attacked the COAS and the army and everyone knows this," he added.

He further said that if there was no army, there would be three pieces of Pakistan by now.

‘PTI to emerge victorious in next polls’

In the next elections, he said he himself will lead the party’s campaign in interior Sindh. "Independence is more needed in the province than the rest of Pakistan."

"As long as the rule of law is not applied to the powerful, Pakistan will never prosper."

He said that Maryam Nawaz, Hamza Shehbaz and Bilawal Bhutto have no credentials as they cannot connect with people. These are privileged people and their parties are shrinking... PTI is the only federal party of Pakistan... they cannot compete with us [in the upcoming election], he added.

"Political dynasties are the negation of democracy. Their (PDM) children; be it Maryam, Hamza or Bilawal have never worked a day in their lives. They are accustomed to living like royalty."

Security threat to Lahore rally

To a question about security threats to PTI's Lahore rally tomorrow, Imran Khan said that he will definitely come to the rally. "It is a special place because Pakistan resolution was tabled there ... Indian Muslims had decided that they wanted separate land ... we're also launching our campaign there ... I believe we will have record number of people there."

Imran Khan said under his rule, Pakistan had record numbers of dollar inflow, adding that in future his government will try never to go to IMF.

He said that national curriculum was an important initiative and so was Rehmatul lil Allameen Authority. "Whatever they do they will not be able to remain in power for long and we will expand our initiatives once we're back in power."

'Unprecedented protests'

He said that he did not expect such huge crowds would come out in his support after his government was ousted earlier this month. "I had expected just five per cent of what actually came out. When I saw people I was so happy because I saw a nation emerging ... for the first time I saw where we should have been 75 years ago," he added.

About protests held abroad in favour of PTI, he said that the protest demonstrationswere unprecedented. "They (the protests) prove that people do not accept the conspiracy," he added.

Future strategy

To a question about his possible disqualification in the foreign funding case, he said that there was nothing in foreign funding case and the ECP cannot disqualify anyone.

He said that in the next elections, he will personally distribute party tickets. "I will personally scrutinise each candidate... we will never make the same mistakes again."

He said that many electable remained with PTI but many betrayed the party.

Presidential system

To a question about presidential form of government, Imran Khan said that the current parliamentary system in Pakistan is very difficult to manage. "If moral evolutions are high then parliamentary system works ... except for some Anglo-Saxon countries this system doesn't exist anywhere because people do not have that high moral standing," he added.

He said that the current parliamentary system will only work if a party comes with a clear majority but if it is dependent on others it will get blackmailed and will find it very difficult to bring ‘change’.

Imran Khan said that he has never seen such sentiments of nationalism in people what he has seen after his government was removed.

"This will make Pakistan a nation... I urge everyone to come to Minar-e-Pakistan tomorrow. We will create history at a historical place."

Earlier, PTI’s official social media team was instructed to make preparations for the party chairman’s address.

The party leaders also held an important meeting of the political committee in which overall political situation was discussed. The participants were briefed on the preparations for the upcoming public rally to be held on April 21 at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore.

Special instructions were given to officials to reach the venue on time with their caravans.

Read: Controversial Imran-era PMDA disbanded

On the occasion, ex-PM Imran said the country had no choice but to give the people a chance for their future through transparent elections.

“People protect the sovereignty and democracy of a country,” he said. “If change of government is accepted through conspiracy, no future head of government will dare to face external pressure.”

Imran maintained that the whole nation is united and mobilised for its freedom and sovereignty.

Sources said the PTI chief will announce a future strategy on the historic site of Minar-e-Pakistan.

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