Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a ceremony at Chakwal on Saturday.—White Star
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a ceremony at Chakwal on Saturday.—White Star

• Asks opposition for proof if polls were rigged
• Launches four mega projects in Chakwal

CHAKWAL: Lashing out at the opposition parties, Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the Pakistan Dem­ocratic Movement (PDM) of propagating Ind­ian agenda by launching a malicious campaign against the Pakistan Army.

Addressing a ceremony here on Saturday, he said this was for the first time that Pakistan’s opposition was targeting the army in this way.

“General Musharraf used to be criticised because he had assumed a political role after becoming the head of the country. But I am sorry to say that the language being used in criticising the army these days is the same which is being used by the propaganda machine of India,” Mr Khan said.

Referring to a recent rep­ort released by the Brussels-based EU DisinfoLab, the prime minister said that India was using as many 700 websites and fake newspapers only to tarnish the image of Pakistan and its army by painting Pakistan as an unstable country and its army as a rogue army so that foreign investors refra­ined from investing in Pak­istan. “Pak Army is particularly targeted because it is India’s long standing desire to weaken our army.”

He said these fake websites were also promoting the narrative of the PDM and there were “many journalists who are part of this disinformation campaign”.

“The army and ISI chiefs are being criticised on the pre­text that they got the pre­vious elections rigged and managed to bring a sel­ected government,” the PM said and asked the opposit­ion lea­ders. “If the elections were rigged, why didn’t you go to Election Commission of Pak­istan, Supreme Court and the parliament to present any proof?”

He said the nation knew that the PDM leaders had been looting the country for the last 30 years. “Articles on their corruption have been published in leading foreign newspapers like Telegraph, Times, New York Times and Daily Mail. BBC has aired two documentaries on the loot and plunder by Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari.”

The PM said in the past Mr Sharif had put Mr Zardari behind bars on corruption charges and the governments of the PPP and the PML N were ousted twice due to corruption charges.

“Today the country needs a strong army because during the last 73 years there had not been such a worst government in India. A government that is totalitarian, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Islam and anti Pakistan. Look what it is doing in Kashmir,” Mr Khan said.

“During such a critical time, the PDM has launched an attack on our own army asking it to oust an elected government,” he said. “If the army chief does not do so, they are urging the army to oust him.”

The PM said that the PDM leaders were launching such a malicious tirade against the army only to get an NRO so that their corruption of 30 years could be forgiven. “They know that they cannot blackmail me. That’s why they want to get an NRO by putting pressure on the institutions,” he said and added” “Anyone who gives an NRO to these thieves will commit treason.”

Mr Khan said retired Gen Musharraf gave an NRO to Mr Sharif and Mr Zardari and as a result Pakistan’s debt increased by four times in 10 years.

“In my meeting with parliamentarians (of Chakwal) they demanded roads and other uplift projects from me. I want to tell you that Rs4,000 billion was collected in tax revenue during the first year of our government but we had to repay Rs2,000 billion as instalments of foreign loan heaped upon us by them (PML N and PPP). In the second year we had to repay Rs2,700bn as loan instalments since markup had increased. “In this way we lose the money which is supposed to be spent on the people,” he said.

About his future vision, the PM claimed that during its five-year tenure, the government would reduce the external and domestic deficit of the country by wealth creation. “To make the life of a common man better, education and health would be our top priorities. We are introducing a revolutionary local bodies system,” he said and added that the Ehsaas Programme launched by his government had been acknowledged as a revolutionary programme by the world.

“We are launching another programme to ensure that no one in the country sleeps hungry,” he said.

Projects launched

Earlier, the premier launched four mega projects for Chakwal, including a university, a 500-bed hospital, Northern Bypass and Centre of Excellence.

These projects would be completed at a cost of Rs15bn.

Published in Dawn, December 27th, 2020

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