PESHAWAR: Continuing with the criticism of rival Nawaz Sharif over the Panama Papers issue, PTI chairman Imran Khan on Monday said quitting the office would have been the only honourable thing for the prime minister to do.
He also said a dishonest and corrupt leader brought ruin on the entire country.
Addressing a public meeting held here in connection with the PK-8 by-election to be held on May 12, the PTI chief highlighted the menace of rampant corruption in the country and the offshore companies owned by the prime minister’s son and disclosed in Panama Papers and said corruption ruined a country if it wasn’t checked.
He said Malaysian leader Mahathir Mohammad told him once that an honest leader was the main ingredient of a country’s development and prosperity.
Imran Khan began his speech by cheering the youths for their presence despite mismanagement and firing in the air ahead of his arrival at the venue.
He later challenged JUI-F leader and former chief minister Akram Khan Durrani to fulfil what he had promised to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
“Akram Durrani told PM he could topple the KP government. How could he do so since the PTI has the majority in the provincial assembly? Bribery could be his only means (to oust the government). I would let him do it to cleanse my party,” he said.
The PTI chief said he would soon go to Bannu, the hometown of Akram Durrani, to ‘revive’ local youths.
PTI chief again asks PM to quit over Panama Papers
He said JUI-F leader Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who often used the word Islam to get things done for himself, was part and parcel of all military and political governments of the past.
Imran Khan said it had been proved that Maulana Fazlur Rehmanwould do anything to stay in power.
He jokingly said the JUI-F leader often called him the Jews’ agent in the country but he would ask why the Jews would need an agent when Fazlur Rehman was already there.
The PTI leader added that even if a Jew became the country’s prime minister, the JUI-F chief would declare his government legal and Islamic to serve own interests.
He said he could see a ‘Naya (new) Pakistan’ in the making as corruption of the PML-N leader and others like him was getting exposed.
Imran Khan said it was a norm in democracy to hold leaders accountable and ask them about their assets but PM Nawaz Sharif didn’t give details of his son’s assets in London until the Panama Papers exposed how corrupt he (PM) was.
He said instead of showing some spine and quitting the office, the PM had been moving around in the country and holding public meetings in air-conditioned tents.
“This will no way end corruption in the country,” he said.
Imran Khan said the PTI government had set up the accountability commission to end corruption in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
He said in the previous government, the incidence of corruption in KP was the highest in the country as disclosed by the Transparency International in a report.
“Now, KP is the province with the lowest corruption incidence in the country, while corruption rate is the highest in Punjab,” he said.
Earlier, local artist Ainie Khan was harassed by men at the public meeting.
She later told media that she was a fan of Imran Khan and had come to the public meeting to see him and offer him a ring as gift.
The organisers and local PTI activists had announced that women wouldn’t be allowed to come to the public meeting.
The announcement was made in light of the incidents of women’s harassment at PTI’s Lahore public meeting of late.
However, Ainie Khan’s arrival and departure flashing on TV screens showed a crowd of men circling and shoving female artiste.
The PTI and its workers came under a lot of criticism on social media for harassing woman participants, who left the venue much ahead of the formal start.
Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2016