I accept Supreme Court's decision, says PM Imran in address to nation

Published April 8, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation on Friday. — DawnNewsTV
Prime Minister Imran Khan addresses the nation on Friday. — DawnNewsTV

Prime Minister Imran Khan in an address to the nation on Friday said he accepts the Supreme Court's verdict issued a day ago.

He also vowed to not accept what he termed as an "imported government" and called on the nation to come out on Sunday (April 10) after Isha prayers to hold peaceful protests.

"I am saddened by the verdict, but I accept it," the premier said at the start of his address.

He said the deputy speaker prorogued the assembly and set aside the no-confidence motion in light of Article 5 of the Constitution.

"There was foreign interference in Pakistan's no-confidence. I wanted the SC to at least look at it. It was a very serious allegation that a foreign country wants to topple the government through a conspiracy."

The premier said he was at least expecting a probe by the SC.

"The SC could have at least asked for and looked at the document to gauge whether we're speaking the truth. I was a bit disappointed because this is a very big issue and there was no discussion on it in the SC."

PM Imran said he was also saddened at the haste with which the court made its decision.

He said open horse-trading and "buying and selling of consciences of lawmakers" was going on in the country. "Every child knows the price at which consciences are being sold."

"What kind of democracy is this? Which democracy in the world allows this (horse-trading)? And the biggest forum for justice, the judiciary, we expected it to take suo motu action if nothing else."

He added that "politicians are not sold this way even in banana republics".

He lambasted PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, claiming that they had "begun horse-trading" in Changa Manga 30 years ago and the country's politics had worsened since then.

Even lawmakers elected on reserved seats were selling their consciences, he said, adding that those seats were a "gift" from the party.

The premier lamented that the spectacle that was taking place at the moment was a "huge setback" for his dream of seeing Pakistan become a great country.

He said he had asked people to come to the PTI's power show titled Amr Bil Maroof (enjoin the good) — held on March 27 — because he wanted to tell them it was their responsibility to stop "evil".

"I say to my nation, you have to save yourselves from this foreign conspiracy. If you do not stand against this, no one will come to save you."

'Threat letter'

Moving on to a document — that he had first shared in the March 27 rally that purportedly contained details of a "foreign conspiracy" to oust his government — Prime Minister Imran said he wanted the public to see it but could not share it as it would "expose Pakistan's secret code" that was used for conveying messages by missions abroad.

Detailing the contents of the cipher, he said Pakistan's ambassador to the US had met an American official who said that the prime minister should not have gone to Russia.

"The ambassador tried to tell that [the trip] was already planned and there was a consensus. He (the US official) knew a no-confidence [motion] was coming. He said if Imran Khan is saved from it, then Pakistan will have to face consequences. See the arrogance [in his saying that] if the sitting prime minister is not removed, Pakistan will be damaged.

"And then he (US official) said that if [Imran Khan] loses, Pakistan will be forgiven. He did not even say that if [I] lose and whoever comes next, we will first see what he does and then forgive him which means he knew who was coming [to power] and had gotten his achkan sewn."

The prime minister termed the US official's remarks an insult to 220 million people of Pakistan, asking why the nation gained independence from the British if this is the way it was going to live.

He also shared that American diplomats had allegedly met PTI lawmakers a few months ago.

"It is necessary for all of us to decide whether we want to live as an independent, sovereign nation or be slaves like this," he said, claiming that the US knew of Shehbaz's plan to come to power because of his messaging of 'beggars can't be choosers'.

Shehbaz had said the country had to do slavery because it was indebted, the premier said, asking who had put the country under debt when the opposition parties had been in power for the last 30 years.

'West knows Imran Khan cannot be controlled'

Prime Minister Imran said the West knew him the best and had a profile on him, claiming that they wanted to remove him because of his opposition to drone strikes and the Iraq war and his "consistent" stance that there was no military solution to the conflict in Afghanistan.

"When [those who say] beggars cannot be choosers were in power, who demonstrated and held sit-ins [against drone strikes]? Imran Khan. They (the West) know Imran Khan has no stolen money or property or bank accounts abroad which means he cannot be controlled. It is necessary to remove [me] because [I] cannot become [their] puppet.

"All this drama is being done to remove one man."

The premier again asked the country to decide what kind of Pakistan they wanted.

PM vows to not accept 'imported govt'

During his address, Prime Minister Imran vowed to not accept an "imported government", saying he would instead go to the public.

"The public brought me and I will [stand] with them. Choose people through elections. What kind of democracy is this?" he asked.

Criticising the opposition parties, he said they all called each other thieves in the past and initiated corruption inquiries. "Now they are all gathering together to get power by any means," he said, adding that once in power, the opposition would disband the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and end corruption cases.

"They (the opposition) have never played with neutral umpires. Their biggest fears are EVMs (electronic voting machines) and overseas Pakistanis' voting. They will end [voting for overseas Pakistanis] and appoint their own bureaucrats, fix the match, and then contest elections. If they are democrats, [they should] announce elections and see who the public votes for."

He appealed to the nation to come out after night prayers on Sunday (April 10) to protest against the "imported government", advising however, to refrain from causing damage to property.

"You have to protect your sovereignty. This is your responsibility," he said, vowing that he would stand with the people and not accept the "imported government" under any condition.

Praise for Indian foreign policy

Prime Minister Imran said he knew India better than other politicians and expressed sadness that Pakistan did not have good relations with it because of its "RSS ideology and what happened in Kashmir".

He praised India's "independent" foreign policy, saying no superpower had the courage to tell the neighbouring country to change its foreign policy. "They (India) are saying they will import Russian oil because it is better for their people despite the sanctions [on Russia]."

He said he had the "same problem". The premier elaborated that he was not against any one or any country but he put the 220m people of Pakistan first and then looked at what other states were saying.

I cannot sacrifice my people for any other nation, he said, adding that this was what happened when those in power had decided to involve Pakistan in the US war on terror. "When you [collaborate] with someone for money, they do not respect you. They (the US) did not appreciate Pakistan and imposed sanctions."

The premier said the country had to try to lift its people out of poverty and it could only do that if it did not enter into any war.

"I want to tell my youth, your future is your own hands. The country's sovereignty is in your hands. No army or foreign power can protect democracy, it is the nation that does so. This attack on our sovereignty, if you do not take a stand against it today, whoever comes into power will look at what the superpowers want and act accordingly."

He called on the nation to stand with its leadership for an independent foreign policy, explaining that it would need to make the US understand that Imran Khan was "not anti-America" and that Pakistan wanted to maintain good relations with all countries.

"We are not a nation to be used as a tissue paper. We do not want a one-sided relationship with anyone. When European Union ambassadors gave a statement against protocol asking Pakistan to condemn Russia [over its invasion of Ukraine] ... can they say that in India? Do they have the courage?"

'Will continue to fight till last ball'

Yesterday, the apex court had in a 5-0 unanimous verdict set aside the April 3 ruling of National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri in which he dismissed the no-trust motion against the premier and also reversed the dissolution of the NA by the president on the PM's advice.

As the opposition celebrated, the prime minister took to Twitter to announce that he had summoned a meeting of the federal cabinet for today and would also address the nation.

He said a meeting of the PTI's parliamentary committee would also be convened today and that he would "continue to fight for Pakistan till the last ball".

'Speaker's ruling contrary to Constitution'

The apex court, in its short order, ruled that the deputy speaker's ruling was "contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect".

It ruled that President Dr Arif Alvi's decision to dissolve the NA was also "contrary to the Constitution and the law and of no legal effect", noting that the prime minister could not have advised the president to dissolve the assembly as he is facing a no-confidence motion.

"It is further declared that the [National] Assembly was in existence at all times, and continues to remain and be so," the short order said.

The court's verdict restored the prime minister and his cabinet in their position. "In consequence of the foregoing, it is declared that the prime minister and federal ministers, ministers of state, advisers, etc stand restored to their respective offices," the office said.

The court also ordered for the NA session to reconvene on Saturday (tomorrow) no later than 10:30am, saying that the session cannot be prorogued without the conclusion of the no-trust motion against PM Imran.

The saga

The joint opposition had submitted a no-confidence motion against the premier with the NA Secretariat on March 8.

In the days to follow, the country's political landscape was abuzz with activity as parties and individuals changed alliances and the PTI and opposition were seen trading barbs and allegations alongside intensifying efforts to ensure their success in the no-confidence contest.

Eventually, major allies of the ruling PTI — Balochistan Awami Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan — deserted the government and joined the opposition ranks which led to PM Imran losing his majority in the lower house of parliament.

It was expected that if voting on the motion went ahead as scheduled on April 3, PM Imran would be ousted from office. The joint opposition, meanwhile, had nominated Shehbaz Sharif as their candidate for the top post.

But before voting could go ahead, the deputy speaker, who was chairing the session, in a shock ruling, dismissed the no-trust motion, terming it contradictory to Article 5 of the Constitution, which mandates loyalty to the state.

According to the deputy speaker, the no-confidence motion was part of a foreign conspiracy to oust PM Imran, evidence of which had been seen by the National Security Committee and the federal cabinet in the form of a 'threat letter' sent to Pakistan through its ambassador in a foreign country.

Immediately after Suri prorogued the session following his ruling, the premier addressed the nation on television, saying that he had advised the president to dissolve the National Assembly. Hours later, the president issued a notification to dissolve the lower house.

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