Institutions will get 'exposed' if they don't do their job now: Imran

If top court doesn't protect fundamental rights of people then there will be no democracy in country, says former PM


News Desk May 30, 2022
Former prime minister Imran Khan during an interview on May 30, 2022. SCREENGRAB

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman has said that if the institutions do not perform their job, they will expose themselves in front of the masses and become "naked".

"Where our country currently stands, these are defining moments for Pakistan. If institutions do not do their job now, they will expose themselves. They are becoming naked," he said during an interview with a private TV channel on Monday.

Imran said that if the Supreme Court does not protect the fundamental rights of the people then there will be no democracy in the country. "The Constitution gives us permission to move, to protest and right to speech. This is also a trial for the Supreme Court as well."

Lashing out at the incumbent government for use of force against the 'Azadi March' "peaceful" protesters, the former premier said that the government defied the apex court's orders.

Struggle against govt 'real jihad'

"I have never seen this amount of torture meted out to women. Sharifs have appointed criminals in the Punjab police," he said and added that Pakistan is being ruled by criminals and those who are struggling against them are committing real jihad.

Talking about the unruly incident in Prophet's (PBUH) mosque, he said that they did not even know about the incident. "Who can think of doing such a thing in Madina but they registered FIR against us for blasphemy. Let me tell them one thing, wherever they will go, they will listen to these two words: traitors and thieves."

Read more: ‘Will come fully prepared this time’: Imran seeks SC’s protection for march

The former prime minister claimed that if the government had not stopped them, the PTI would have brought over two million people to the capital for the long march.

To a question about choosing only Islamabad for protest and not choosing other cities as protests can be held in other parts of the country as well, Imran said that the protest in the capital has the most impact. "When two million people protested against the Iraq war in London, it created a major impact."

He said that 60 per cent of people in the current government are on bail. "They have brought an artificial government after conspiracy but the nation does not accept them. I want their voices to be heard."

Plans after long march

Saying that a long march to Islamabad would be the first step in their agitation against the government, the PTI chief said that they are considering other measures as well including strikes. "We will use all the non-violent and democratically allowed tools but we will never accept them," he added.

"They have made a mockery of democracy here. The basis of democracy is based on morality. Whenever martial laws are imposed in Pakistan, the government is sacked on the basis of corruption," he added.

He said that it was a joke that one of the dissenting PTI MNA was made leader of the opposition, adding that the government had appointed its own people in FIA and NAB so it can get out from all the cases. "They have always fixed matches by getting umpires on their side. They won election in 2013 because of some brigadier," he added.

He said that when he met the Nigerian defence minister, he asked why Nigeria was a poor country despite having vast amounts of oil reserves. Imran said that the Nigerian official told him that it was due to corruption.

"Musharraf's biggest crime was giving NRO to these people... even bigger crime than the dictatorship," he added.

He said that what the government is doing now is even more damaging than "dropping an atomic bomb on the nation".

Also read: ‘Azadi March’: Government had the last laugh

"When you cannot hold accountable powerful people you become a banana republic. When you give licence to people to do corruption, a nation gets destroyed."

'Punjab prosecutor was told to go slow with corruption cases'

Imran Khan also revealed that during the tenure of his government, someone gave a message to the Punjab prosecutor to go slow on corruption cases against Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz.

"If he [Shehbaz] had been convicted, he would not have been able to become prime minister. Those who gave the message knew about the foreign conspiracy as well. This was all planned. The ones who were about to get convicted were made prime minister and chief minister."

To a question about approaching former allies including Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P) and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP), the ousted premier said that they have a strategy in place for both Centre and Punjab but he cannot reveal it at the moment.

'Top court's protection first'

Imran said that they are waiting for the Supreme Court's verdict which they expect to give cover to the protesters. "I want to get this protection because during the long march, women children and common people come out to protest. I want the Supreme Court gives us protection so we can exercise our right to protest. If we don't get it, we have another strategy in place. We will deal with the situation accordingly after the Supreme Court's ruling," he added.

The former prime minister also said that even during General (retd) Pervez Musharraf's dictatorship, he did not see the level of violence conducted by the police on the instructions of the government to stop the long march.

"They didn't even care about women and children or the elderly. They detained everyone. Rana Sanaullah is a murderer. They killed 14 people in Model Town and injured so many others."

He said that the PTI got relaxed after the Supreme Court's ruling as it did not expect the government to take such harsh steps.

To a question about how he would deal with Western countries if he ever gets into power after his anti-Western rhetoric, Imran said that he knows the West best and they will respect his take after knowing that the stand he took was for the benefit of the people.

"Look at India why do they respect them? Because they have an independent foreign policy. I met Rahul Gandhi at a conference. He said it is unimaginable that someone carries out drone attacks on India. We were their allies but we suffered 400 drone attacks. It was because we had corrupt leaders. We lost 80,000 lives but they did not even thank us," he added.

'Had a great relationship with Trump'

Imran Khan went on to say that he had a very good relationship with former US president Donald Trump despite a Twitter spat. "He accused us on Twitter but what I replied was based on facts. But despite this episode, I had good relations with him. When I went to Washington he gave me tremendous respect. Ask anyone did any Pakistani prime minister or president got that sort of respect in Washington? I am not against anyone but I want to lead with dignity," he added.

Regarding relations with India, he said that the day Pakistan forgets about Kashmir, relations will normalise with the neighbouring country. "If you accept the August 2019 move, the relations would get better. If you want to compromise on the blood of Kashmiris then your relations with India will improve," he said.

To a question about Pakistan's relationship with China during the PTI's tenure, he said that he had a great relationship with President Xi Jinping. "It was simply that we talked about Pakistan's interest and they respected that. We had a great relationship with China. The Chinese president was due to arrive in Pakistan but the coronavirus pandemic happened," he added.

He said that the CPEC Authority was created so things don't get stuck in the rotten bureaucratic system. "That was its only objective. We lost two years due to Covid-19. Otherwise, the things would have become even smoother."

The PTI chairman said that he would have let the current government rule if did not have Pakistan's interest in mind. "I know they will expose themselves before the people."

Another Sri Lanka?

"If I don't think about Pakistan's interest, I would've just simply let them govern as they will expose themselves in front of the masses. See how they have messed up the economy. We had left the industrial growth level which was only seen in Ayub's era. We had record exports and remittances. We increased IT exports by 75 per cent. When our government was removed, all the indicators were positive."

The former prime minister feared that "if we let the current rulers govern, Pakistan could become another Sri Lanka", therefore, he is emphasising conducting a free and transparent election as soon as possible.

He said that the government had increased the petrol prices but more such increases are due to come. "They have increased Rs30 on petrol but this will not stop here they will increase even more. We had made a deal with Russia for cheap oil. They will bring down the economy even more if they remain in power for long," he added.

To a question about how he would govern differently if given another chance, Imran Khan said that PTI's performance had been good in the last two years but they faced challenges in governance.

"We have realised that if we do not have a real local government system we cannot progress. We have realised that if we do not give a functional local government system to the people, we won't be able to deliver," he further said.

 

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