'Have not done injustice with Jahangir Tareen,' says PM Imran during telephone calls with citizens

Published May 11, 2021
Prime Minister Imran Khan responds to questions by citizens on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan responds to questions by citizens on Tuesday. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Tuesday said that he had "not done injustice" with estranged PTI leader Jahangir Khan Tareen, while also denying that he had given an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to Tarin who is facing an inquiry by the Federal Investi­gation Agency (FIA) related to the sugar scam.

He made the comments while responding to a caller on the 'Apka Wazeer-e-Azam Apke Saath' programme during which he took telephone calls from citizens.

The premier said that Tareen claimed he was a victim of injustice. "I have never done any injustice with anyone. When I haven't done it with any of my opponents, how will I do it with Jahangir Tareen?"

However, he vowed to "never give an NRO" to people who were part of the sugar mafia and had caused trouble for the people. These mafias did not pay taxes and raised sugar prices whenever they wanted to, the premier said, emphasising that they would not get any "facility".

He said there were two types of thieves, those who stole on a smaller scale while others, like officeholders who stole on a much bigger scale. Nations are destroyed when officeholders start stealing, he added.

The premier said PML-N President and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif had a money laundering case worth Rs700 billion against him.

"This is just one case, [authorities] have a book's worth of cases against him. The only time (the stolen) money comes back is when one of the wives or sons have to buy a house. Now, if you gather all Pakistani prisoners who have stolen, all their thievery combined is not equal to Rs700bn.

He claimed that because of the two NROs given by former president Pervez Musharraf to Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, the country's loans had mushroomed from Rs6 trillion to Rs30tr. "This is what has destroyed the country. I have always said I would not give an NRO and I am saying it again today."

When one of the callers asked Prime Minister Imran whether he was happy with his ministers, the premier said: "I have 11 players in my team, some of them are very good. If [the ministers] are not good, they will be thrown out of the team."

Call with envoys

Responding to a call by an overseas Pakistani regarding embassies and consulates, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the embassies and Foreign Office had done "splendid work in terms of diplomacy".

Referring to his talk with Pakistani envoys last week in which he had adopted a strong tone while asking them to take care of overseas Pakistanis, the premier said that he felt the "programme should not have been broadcast live" and only excerpts should have been shared.

"It seemed like I was castigating the entire Foreign Office. That is not true. They are doing splendid work."

Editorial: A public telling-off will demoralise an already under-fire Foreign Office

Talking about the steps the government would take, the premier said that all embassies had been directed to establish online complaint systems while a portal was also being created under the supervision of Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi. All the complaints that were not solved by the embassy would be forwarded to a special officer working under the foreign minister, he added.

He identified two areas where he said embassies needed improvement — consular services and attracting foreign investment, adding that overseas Pakistanis would be put in touch with the Ministry of Commerce to inform them about investment opportunities in the country.

'Follow SOPs to avoid lockdown'

He once again urged people to follow standard operating procedures (SOPs) to save themselves from the coronavirus and to avoid another countrywide lockdown.

The prime minister said that in the previous two waves of Covid-19, especially in the first one, people had cooperated and the country had managed to avoid a bad outcome.

He pointed to the worsening regional situation and rising coronavirus cases in neighbouring countries, saying Pakistan "got out of it (pandemic) well". Unlike India, Pakistan did not impose another lockdown, he said, sharing that a report stated 220 million people in the neighbouring country had fallen into poverty as a result of the harsh lockdown.

"We saved our nation from both sides. It is the third wave now. See the conditions in India [...] cases are rising very fast in Bangladesh, Nepal and Iran. In comparison, God has saved us till now."

Prime Minister Imran said he wanted people to take care of the elderly and their nation during the Eidul Fitr holidays by taking precautionary measures. "The more careful you are, the [sooner] we will get out of this disaster," he said, warning that Pakistan could face a situation similar to India's if people were not careful.

Read | The Analytical Angle: How Pakistan can learn from the Covid crisis in India

The premier shared that cases in Pakistan despite not decreasing had stabilised.

"I am requesting all of you to follow SOPs now for your country, nation and families." Holding up a mask, he said it was 50 per cent effective in preventing the spread of the virus.

"If you are cautious and [celebrate] Eid in a [simpler] way, then we will get out of this third wave as well," he stressed.

'Fighting against mafia real jihad'

Prime Minister Imran said Pakistan's main problem was that the supremacy of the law had not been established. The problem had begun when former chief justice Mohammad Munir had "allowed" martial law to be imposed through the doctrine of necessity principle, he added.

The democrats who had come into power after martial law ended did not establish the supremacy of the law as well, he claimed, saying that the "battle" started when Musharraf removed the then chief justice of Pakistan.

"I was thrown in jail because I was with the chief justice," PM Imran recalled. "I am very proud that my party and I participated fully [in the protests against the removal].

"Our government does not interfere with the judiciary. I say with pride that we do not interfere with NAB (National Accountability Bureau) because we want the supremacy of the law. Bringing the powerful within ambit of law is jihad (holy war)."

The prime minister said that fighting against the mafias who did not want the supremacy of the law to be established was his "real jihad" and success in the fight was near.

Palestine and Kashmir

Replying to a question about the violence in Jerusalem, the prime minister said he condemned the atrocities committed on the Palestinians by the Israeli forces in Al Aqsa and had asked Foreign Minister Qureshi to "immediately talk" to his counterparts in Turkey and Saudi Arabia.

He said Pakistan was trying to bring together Muslim countries to discuss the situation in Jerusalem as well as how to tackle Islamophobia.

The premier also criticised Western countries for not highlighting the human rights issues in occupied Kashmir.

"When the Western media and countries raise human rights issues, it is not because they care about human rights. They use it to push their foreign policy objectives. This is a reality," he told the caller.

He said that the West was focused on India because it wanted the country to rival China in the region. "This is foolish because if India stands against China, it would destroy itself," he noted.

"Western newspapers now criticise Hindu extremist ideology," he said, giving credit to Pakistan for playing a big role in raising awareness about conditions in the occupied valley.

He acknowledged however that Western countries were "not standing with Kashmiris" in the way Pakistan wanted them to.

"As long as India does not take back its steps of Aug 5, 2019, Pakistan will not hold any talks with India," the premier said.

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