• Claims to have credible proof in shape of a ‘letter’
• Terms PTI’s performance better than all govts in 30 years
• Believes opposition lawmakers, too, will join him soon
ISLAMABAD: In what appeared to be his ‘trump card’, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday evening revealed that he has credible evidence in the shape of a letter that an international conspiracy had been hatched to topple his government and some ‘people’ in Pakistan were being used against him through foreign funding.
The prime minister, in his much-awaited speech, then threatened the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) dissident lawmakers once again that they will have to face wrath of the nation if they voted for the no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.
In his nearly two-hour-long address at Parade Ground, PM Khan claimed that not only the PTI dissents but some lawmakers belonging to the main opposition parties — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) — would also join the government once they would know about the international conspiracy against the “independence of the country”.
Taking out a document from his pocket and waving it to the crowd and media crew, Mr Khan said he had credible evidence that his government was being toppled under an international conspiracy but he would show the documentary proof to anyone, especially the media, ‘off the record’ only.
“Foreign funding is being used to change the government. Money is coming from abroad and people inside the country are being used. Some of them are unaware they are being used and some are intentionally using this money against us,” PM Khan said while reading out a note during his speech.
He then asked the crowd “to decide will the Pakistani nation make successful all those who are conspiring [against the government] by getting money from abroad or not”. He said he was a ‘democrat’ who did not go into hiding and always went to public in difficult times.
Depending on who you believe, the crowd was something between tens of thousands to over one million — latter being claimed by the PTI leaders.
Without identifying those he was referring to, Mr Khan said he also knew the forces behind the efforts to unite the PPP and the ‘murderers’, adding that the government had been aware of the plot against it for past few months.
In a rare expression of appreciation, PM Khan admired the foreign policy of former premier and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and said Mr Bhutto was hanged under an international conspiracy for making independent foreign policy. He said PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who always did politics in the name of his grandfather [Bhutto], joined the successors of Bhutto’s killers. “We know who have united the victim and the murderer,” he added.
The prime minister said the letter he had showed to the nation was “a credible proof” of the plot against him and offered anyone including the media to have a chat with him “off the record” on the letter. “We are receiving threats and now the nation and the media should decide that for how long we have to live like this [compromise on the foreign policy],” he added.
Mr Khan was curiously evasive when he said he was not disclosing the content of the letter at the moment and that from whom he had received it. However, he said, he would make it public at an “appropriate time”. “I am unveiling the evidence that I have before you but I am not giving details in the best interest of the country,” he added.
“I cannot tell everything to you — not because of any fear but for the best interest of the country. I do not fear anyone, but God. Nobody can give me anything. I do not need anything. I run my house by myself. I don’t have any camp office and I, after becoming the PM, saved money more than any prime minister of the past,” he said.
The premier said he had written that part of his speech [claim about the threat and letter], because he did not want to say anything in high emotions that may have an adverse impact on Pakistan’s foreign policy.
He said the corrupt leaders received threats and dictation from abroad because of their bad deeds. “Governments in our country were used to be changed with the help of our own people,” he added.
He said the country was passing through the same situation that had surfaced when former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was punished and hanged for establishing an “independent foreign policy”.
At the end of his speech, the PM asked the crowd to promise that they will “never let the head of the nation bowed” before anyone. He said the country had lost 80,000 lives for becoming a US ally in the war on terror and faced drone attacks in the tribal areas that rendered 3.5 million Pakistanis homeless.
He then threatened the PTI dissident lawmakers, apparently in the opposition camp, that if they voted against him in the National Assembly, they would face the ‘worst kind of public wrath’.
“The whole nation will watch who will vote on the day of voting. I advise you do not vote on that day, otherwise people will never forgive you. If you have any differences with the government, you have only one way to quit by resigning from the party seat. But people will never spare you if your conscience awake by seeing Rs250 million,” he said, adding that whenever people would press the word ‘conscience seller’ [in their gadgets] the picture of PTI dissidents would appear.
PM Khan also claimed that he would never give the National Reconciliation Ordinance-like relief to the ‘corrupt leaders’ and said former president Gen Pervez Musharraf had committed the biggest ‘crime’ by giving them the concession.
Calling leader of the opposition in the NA Shehbaz Sharif, former president Asif Zardari and Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) head Maulana Fazlur Rehman “three stooges and rats”, the prime minister claimed he would never give them any NRO-like relief and would fight till end against the ‘corrupt’ leaders even if he was ousted.
Besides Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry, Shafqat Mehmood, Pervez Khattak and Murad Saeed, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid and Grand Democratic Alliance leader Dr Fehmida Mirza was among the cabinet members who addressed the public on the occasion.
The PM also recounted all his government’s achievements during the past three and a half years and said people would feel a big difference between the present and past regimes when he would complete five-year term. “I challenged that no previous government had done in past 30 years what my government has done in three years,” Mr Khan said, and referred to the project of three major dams, women’s rights, construction boom, revival of industrial sector, health insurance cards, agricultural subsidy and education reforms.
Mr Khan earlier arrived at the venue in a helicopter.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2022