Nawaz Sharif wants to control the ISI because they know about his corruption, PM Imran Khan says.
ISLAMABAD: As Opposition parties ratchet up the pressure on the government through the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), Prime Minister Imran Khan has come out swinging against former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the PDM.
Speaking animatedly at the Insaf Lawyers' Forum on Friday, PM Imran Khan alleged that the PML-N was handing out money to its supporters to muster support for its anti-government movement.
He also lashed out at the opposition parties for sticking together "when they are being called to account for their crimes."
"I want to tell their supporters to take money and even eat their qeemay ke naan:but stay inside [and do not come out to protest]," he said.
"Two years after the [Panamagate] JIT was formed and the courts gave their verdict, he [Nawaz Sharif] is still saying 'Mujhay Kyun Nikala' (Why was I ousted?)," the prime minister said, making reference to Nawaz Sharif's frequent complaint against the Pakistani state.
The prime minister also hit out at Nawaz and Maryam Nawaz's spokesperson Mohammad Zubair for comparing the PML-N supremo to deceased Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini.
"I was watching TV and he was comparing Nawaz Sharif to Ayatollah Khomeini during a talk show," said PM Imran.
"He [Zubair] was saying that Khomeini was also exiled," said the premier, noting that Khomeini was sent abroad on gunpoint while Nawaz "faked" numerous illnesses to do the same.
Commenting later on Zubair comparing Nawaz with Khomeini, the prime minister said the two were not similar by any account as "the people of Iran actually loved Ayatollah Khomeini".
"Ayatollah Khomeini did not have nihari brought to him on helicopters from Lahore," he quipped. "He lived [on a simple diet] of yoghurt and roti," the premier said.
Taunting the PML-N chief, the prime minister jokingly remarked that one of his ministers "cried"when she came to know that Nawaz was suffering from so many diseases.
"We were in a cabinet meeting that lasted for six hours [on the Nawaz Sharif issue]. Doctors were also present in it. When the doctors told us that Nawaz was suffering from so many diseases, I saw that our Human Rights Minister Shireen Mazari was crying," he joked as the audience laughed.
"Anyone who knows Shireen Mazari will know that the diseases we were told [Nawaz allegedly had] were apparently so serious that they made even her cry," he added, as the audience roared with laughter.
Referring to the need for opposition parties to face the accountability process, the prime minister said that: "Despite [never having held a public position at that point], I [too] presented the court with documents dating back to 40 years."
Taking another swipe at the PML-N, the prime minister targeted leader Talal Chaudhry over a recent incident in which he was roughed up.
"A senior leader of their party [PML-N] went for 'organisational restructuring' to a lady's house at 3:00 am in the night. He's then going around wondering her brothers beat him up," he mocked.
PM Imran Khan said the real reason Nawaz always had problems with the military leadership was because they know about his crimes.
"He wants to control the ISI because they always find out about his corruption," he said. "They're the number one agency in the world."
"This is why Nawaz Sharif fights with every army chief — he wants to turn Pakistan Army into Punjab Police."
The prime minister said he, on the other hand, enjoys good relations with the armed forces because the intelligence agency knows about his lifestyle.
"Their [the Opposition's] problem is not democracy — I am the democracy," he said. "I got elected from five constituencies."
"The day they get an NRO, I am telling you: Pakistan will go down," he said.
"And if they should be given an NRO, then why should we not extend the same favour to the poor people languishing in prison."
The prime minister promised that the opposition will be allowed to hold rallies, but not to break the law.
"I am making it clear to you — you can hold as many jalsas as you want, but wherever you break the law, you will be sent to jail," he said.
"And this time the jails will not be the VIP ones [you are used to]," he added.
"You will go where the poor convict goes."