'Govt not going anywhere, but you are going to jail,' Imran tells Zardari - GulfToday

'Govt not going anywhere, but you are going to jail,' Imran tells Zardari


Imran Khan addresses a public gathering in Jamrud, Khyber Agency. Twitter photo

Tariq Butt / Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Imran Khan has challenged leaders of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) "to do whatever they could” but the government would hold them accountable for "looting the nation’s wealth.”

While addressing a public gathering in Jamrud, Khyber Agency, he came down hard on former president Asif Zardari and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, accusing them of money laundering and multiplying the country’s foreign debt.

Imran invited PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari and Asif Zardari to stage a sit-in against the government in Islamabad if they so wish, saying their efforts to bring down the PTI government "will not succeed."

"Zardari sahab: no matter how hard you push, this government is not going anywhere. But you are going to jail," he told the former president, who is currently embroiled in a high profile fake bank accounts case.

"I invite you and your son: come and stage a dharna (sit-in) in Islamabad," the prime minister continued, adding that he will not only arrange containers for the PPP leaders, but also provide them food.

Imran also shot back at Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who has announced he will launch a 'million march' to "get rid of this fascist government..

Recalling that Rehman had been "clean-bowled" in the 2018 general elections, the premier said the Maulana will not get another chance to be part of the government despite his efforts.

Imran said that his government took steps to stop money laundering and that all the big mafias would be caught and the looters of the national wealth would be held accountable.

"During former president Pervez Musharraf’s tenure, the foreign debt totalled Rs6 trillion, which rose to Rs15 trillion during the PPP government and soared further to Rs30 trillion during the (PML-N) government,” he said.

"The debt burden soared because of money laundering in the past,” he said. "We are paying Rs7 billion every day on the loans taken by the Peoples Party and the Muslim League governments,” he added. "We have to tell the people how the previous rulers looted the country.”

The prime minister said that those who looted the nation’s wealth would not be spared. "These mafias are joining hands in the name of democracy but we are not afraid of train march, long march or the sit-in. I assure the nation we will not spare looters of the nation’s wealth.”

Imran cited widening gap between exports and imports as the reason for the increasing trade deficit. Therefore, he added, the government was bringing comprehensive reforms in the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) to improve tax collection system.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the Customs and the FBR had been brought to one platform to stop money laundering, the prime minister said. "Because of these reforms, the fake accounts came to the fore,” he added.

The premier described the rise in the dollar value as well as the trend of price hike as artificial. "Dearness, at present, is artificial and very soon the people will get relief because the government is taking steps for the welfare of the downtrodden people.”

Defending the government’s performance, the prime minister noted that within a period of just seven months, the government could not address all the problems or turn around the economy but "we are taking steps in the right direction and very soon, the problems facing the country will start mitigating.”

Imran described Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Chief Minister Mahmood Khan as "the best captain” running the province.

The provincial government was taking right decisions in line with the PTI policies, he said and asked the PTI members to work as a team.

About the development of the former tribal areas, the prime minister said the government would spend Rs1,000 billion on the development projects in the newly-merged tribal districts. "The government is also initiating a interest-free loan scheme for the tribal people to create employment opportunities.”

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