Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday, while condemning the plight of Muslims prevented from entering the United States (US) under US President Donald Trump's immigration ban, expressed hope that the ban is extended to Pakistanis.
"I want to tell all Pakistanis today, I pray that Trump bans Pakistani visas so that we can focus on fixing our country," Khan told a rally in Sahiwal.
Trump's sweeping executive order, signed Friday, suspends the arrival of refugees in the US for at least 120 days and bars visas for travellers from seven Muslim majority countries ─ including Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen ─ for the next three months.
The PTI chief said most educated Pakistanis want to leave this country because they think they can only acquire gainful employment if they have a "powerful source", and said he believes that things in Pakistan can only improve if people work for progress.
"The day we bring back the merit system back to Pakistan, all our best citizens will return and work for the betterment of this country," Khan said.
"We will have to fix Pakistan and stand on our own two feet. And the day that we decide this is our home and we have to fix it, we won't beg for loans from the US and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)."
Khan said the day there is a government that decides it has to live and die in Pakistan, it will fix this country.
"The biggest issue here," he said, "is the corruption of bigwigs who... become ministers and loot this country, taking the money abroad."
"They may have elected Trump, but we have elected Nawaz Sharif."
Lambasting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, Khan alleged, the PM had taken money from Pakistan and spent it abroad. "His businesses are abroad, his children are abroad, but he is the prime minister of Pakistan. He even goes abroad for checkups," he said.
Khan lauded Iran's tit-for-tat move in response to Trump's immigration ban, which restricted US nationals travelling to Iran until the ban was lifted.
"Iran is an independent nation and we need to become like them," Khan asserted.
The PTI chief, directly addressing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, urged the premier not to tamper with Pakistan's water supplies.
Recounting Modi's speech in poll-bound Indian Punjab Friday in which he promised to abrogate the Indus Waters Treaty, Khan said, "If you shut our water, what will our people do?"
"I know that the people in India don't want war. They want peace," Khan said. "The people want both countries to cooperate and end poverty across the subcontinent."