Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said if anyone grants the Opposition an NRO (concession under National Reconciliation Ordinance), “it will be the greatest act of treason against the country”.
“The enemy wouldn’t have acted in a way worse than such a person who lets them off the hook,” said the premier, during an address following the unveiling of several development projects in Chakwal.
He said that today, in a never before seen manner, the Opposition is “targeting” the army and criticising it just like the “India propaganda machine”.
“So I know […] and our members of parliament were saying this […] the way the political Opposition is levelling criticism on the army is unprecedented in Pakistan’s history,” PM Imran Khan said.
He said former military ruler Gen Pervez Musharraf was also criticised but he was the country’s leader as well as the army chief, “so yes of course he was criticised”.
“But the sort of language that is being used for the army today is the kind that India’s propaganda machine uses against the army.”
He said that many people of the area — from Jhelum, Chakwal, and Mianwali — had joined the army and had rendered numerous sacrifices in the service of the armed forces.
‘Fake Indian websites promoted PDM’
The premier then spoke of the EU DisinfoLab unearthing at least 700 fake Indian websites in which they would publish news on the name of deceased individuals even.
“The sole purpose was to paint Pakistan in a bad light, so that foreign investors stay away. And then the Pakistan army was especially targeted because India wants to weaken us,” the prime minister said.
He said that India has always been planning to present Pakistan Army as “a rogue army and terrorists.” “Narendra Modi would openly call the last army chief a terrorist.”
PM Imran Khan said that these fake websites “would also promote” the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s activities. He said that “there are many journalists also who promote them and were part of the disinformation campaign.”
“For the first time, the Opposition is targeting Pakistan’s army. The army chief and the ISI chief. And they are saying the army was involved in rigging and so the government is selected.
“So then, did you go to the Election Commission, the Supreme Court, the Parliament?”
He said that the Opposition has been decrying “rigged elections” for the past two years but has not provided any proof. Citing the example of the recently held presidential elections in the US, he said that when a hue and cry over rigging was raised, the media was the first to ask for proof.
“They have looted the country with both hands for the past 30 years,” said PM Imran Khan. He said both Opposition party leaders Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari have been reported by many UK and US publications as corrupt, with documentaries even made on their “thievery”.
“They would call each other corrupt at one point in time,” he said.
The premier said that the Opposition only holds its own interests dear and not those of the country.
‘They want a coup and call themselves democratic’
He said today, Pakistan needs a strong army “like never before”, because never before was there a government in India like today. “Extremist, totalitarian, racist, anti-Muslim, anti-Islam and anti-Pakistan, […] and with what they are doing to the Kashmiris, it’s unprecedented.”
The premier said that under such circumstances, the “Opposition is telling the army to remove an elected government from power and remove the army chief if he is unwilling to do so”.
“They are telling the army to do a military coup in the country and they call themselves democratic.”
The prime minister said he had never before witnessed such attempts to undermine the country by any government. He said that the Opposition’s sole aim is for the government to give them an NRO in some way. “They want to blackmail us. They know they can’t do that to me, so they have set their sights on institutions, thinking they can pressurise me to forgive them.”
‘What example will we set if we don’t punish them?’
He said that he is aware of the needs of the people, but when the “corrupt” rule the country, the entire system under which people’s needs should be serviced is destroyed.
The premier said the government has “very little” left to spend on the people due to half of its collections being used for debt repayment int he first year and in the second, even more than that due to accrued interest.
“If we don’t punish such people, what kind of example are we setting for our children? That the powerful can get away with anything and the jails are only for the poor?” he asked.
‘What is your qualification?’
Without naming PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, “the two children who are holding NRO rallies”, the prime minister said that if someone were to ask them what their job experience is, what would they say?
“They will say our fathers are the most corrupt people in Pakistan. And they have cases lined up against them. And they are being convicted by the courts. This is our qualification.”
He said the two “have not worked an hour in their life”.
“These two (Nawaz and Zardari) have looted the country for 30 years and are billionaires and have billions abroad and their children are also abroad.
“What is the reason that you two (Bilawal and Maryam) are the leaders of the party? What have you done?” asked the prime minister.
PM Imran Khan further said: “The two have set out to run the country. And what is their job experience? That ‘we had a very privileged upbringing but unfortunately the money was not legitimate income’.”