• Says he didn’t backtrack from dialogue
• Inaugurates AirSial airline
SIALKOT: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said the Constitution stipulated a no-confidence motion for the removal of the government and dared the opposition to do so.
“If the opposition wants to move a no-confidence motion, they should come and do so in the assemblies,” he said, criticising the call for en masse resignations from assemblies by Pakistan Democratic Movement chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.
Talking to media here on Wednesday, Mr Khan said he did not backtrack from holding a national dialogue to steer the country out of multiple crises.
“Parliament is the best place for political dialogues and I’m ready to respond to all questions [in the parliament]. Democracy will only work when there is a debate.”
The premier said the major challenge for the government was to steer the country out of crises, adding his government had inherited `historic’ deficits in every sector.
Mr Khan said the opposition wanted quashing of corruption cases whenever the government held dialogues with them, adding the cases against the opposition leaders were registered during their own tenures.
“We have no problem and the government is ready to hold talks on any issue but NRO will not be discussed,” he said and added the [corruption] cases could not be closed.
Earlier, addressing a ceremony after inaugurating a private airline company AirSial, Mr Khan was critical of the attitude of opposition parties and said those who had criticised the government for not imposing a complete lockdown, were [now] holding public gatherings.
“Now during the second wave, people again need to adhere to the SOPs so that the pandemic could be overcome,” he said.
Speaking of the private airline, the premier appreciated the business community and said Sialkot would become a business hub in the coming days. “AirSial will create competition for other Pakistani airlines.”
He was accompanied by federal ministers Hammad Azahar, Ghulam Sarwar, Adviser Razak Dawood, SAPM Usman Dar, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar and Special Assistant to CM Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan.
AirSial’s third Airbus A320-200 will arrive at Jinnah International Airport, Karachi, from the United States on Friday (tomorrow) and later the aircraft will be flown to its base, Sialkot. The airline is to be operated by the Sialkot’s business community. With current fleet of three Airbus A320-200, the airline would operate flights to and from Sialkot, Islamabad, Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.
Mr Khan said Sialkot exporters were playing a pivotal role in strengthening the national economy by earning foreign exchange to the tune of $2.5 billion annually. He said there was no doubt to say that exporters set a unique example of self-help by establishing several projects including international airport, dry port trust, export processing zone and now AirSial airline.
The premier spoke of initiating equal development in all parts of Pakistan for ending poverty and unemployment.
He said: “The time is ripe for equal development in neglected areas of the country, including Gilgit-Baltistan and Punjab as well. Launching projects in an area can never develop the country. The government is committed to removing all hurdles in the way of national development.”
The prime minister announced early establishment of an Austria-like state-of-the-art international school and technology at Sialkot. He said it would help innovate the industrial and engineering technology.
He announced full support to promote small and medium enterprises, saying SMEs were backbone of the economy of a country.
Mohammad Asghar in Rawalpindi also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2020