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pakistan
Monday Dec 03 2018
By
Web Desk

'Govt, military on same page': PM says all decisions made by him

By
Web Desk

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Monday said the government and military were on the same page and all decisions were made by him.

During his interview with a panel of senior journalists, Khan said there was not a single decision that was not made by him, or which did not have the military's backing.

Speaking of recent devaluation of rupee, he said they had asked the State Bank of Pakistan to take the government in loop before depreciating the rupee.

Khan said the government is devising a mechanism so that the central bank could not depreciate the currency without informing the government.

He said the SBP was an autonomous institution, noting various measures the government was taking to this devaluation.

"I came to know of rupee's devaluation through the media. Hence we have asked the SBP to take us in loop before taking any action so we can recommend and collaborate in stabilising economy," the prime minister said.

"This devaluation is a temporary phenomenon. All the KPIs of Pakistan are in a good direction now onwards. We are bringing in remittances, we are having huge investments now."

'Shehbaz won't be made PAC chairman'

Speaking to the group of journalists, he said if the opposition did not wish to move along with the government, then it was its own choice.

"We will not make Shehbaz Sharif chairman of the Public Accounts Committee," Khan cleared.

Transparency

He said he wishes to have such a transparent government which was never seen in the past.

In his interview to the journalists, the prime minister said a person who is afraid tries to hide information.

"If any of my ministers do something wrong, I want them to be exposed," he said.

Khan said he is reviewing performance of the ministers and some of them might also be removed from their respective portfolios. 

First 100-day agenda

Speaking about his 100-day agenda, the premier clarified that even if a bridge is to be constructed that is not completed in 100 days.

He said the first 100 days of a government help ascertain its direction only.

"We want such a system in which policies are [made] for the lower class," Khan said. "We are bringing health cards to the whole country and working on improving public hospitals."

'Want to change system of elitism'

He said he wants to change the system of elitism to the one that supports the underprivileged.

"There are better education institutes for elite, good justice system for elites. The rich can afford good lawyers, they can even get away with robbery while the poor can't get justice in time," Khan said.

"Likewise for jobs, people from elite institutions get jobs easily. So, we’re bringing reforms, uniform education systems, then health cards for medical care and legal aid for those who can’t afford."

Khan snubs opponents criticising his poultry, livestock statement

He criticised the individuals mocking him for his statement regarding poultry and livestock.

"I talk about poultry and livestock, people make fun of me. Bill Gates explained the same thing the next day and people are taking it to be something highly out of the box," the premier noted. 

"Halal meat trade is worth USD2000 billion worldwide. We are a livestock nation, we can make the most of this opportunity area."

PML-N blamed for current account deficit

He blamed the former Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz government for the country's current account deficit.

"When the PML-N government came to power, our current account deficit was $2.5 billion. When we came to power, the PML-N left us with fiscal deficit of $19 billion," Khan said. 

"They spent $7 billion for maintaining dollar's value at a certain price. In such a situation, uncertainty rises."

Investments

He said now the Axxon Group is investing in Pakistan, adding that even China has said they were just giving us loans before, but now they will also invest through CPEC projects.

Khan said their focus is the Chinese model and they are focusing on utilising local labor, attract investments and increase exports.

'Unprecedented situation'

He said all ministers are reporting their progress, future plans and cost cutting for the first 100 days, which he will be reviewing this week.

"The kind of situation we inherited is unprecedented. We are lucky that we are still getting investments otherwise when your country is in such a deficit, investments naturally become hard to get. But we are adamant. I am working harder than I have ever done," the prime minister said.

About revamping institutions like railways, PIA, steel mills etc, he said they have studied and are in process of implementing from Singaporean and Malaysian models.

'Govt not interfering in institutions'

Khan said his government is not interfering in any institution, noting that the Interior Ministry is under him, CDA comes under him, yet they are freely issuing reports against his own residence in Bani Gala, which is unprecedented.

"My govt will not protect anyone from accountability by intervening," he asserted.

"If Azam Swati’s misuse of power is proved, he will himself resign. A joint investigation team (JIT) has been formed by the Supreme Court and it is independent. I have never intervened in this case although I head the department that is investigating Azam Swati."

The prime minister said his own sister's name was being discussed with regard to her Dubai property, questioning, "Have I ever interfered in the investigations?"

PM all praise for Punjab CM Usman Buzdar

He said Usman Buzdar is a chief minister Punjab has never seen before, adding, "His (Buzdar's) doors are always open for the public."

Backing the chief minister on his questioning of DPO Pakpattan Rizwan Gondal, Khan said there was a complaint against the police officer that he had misbehaved with Bushra Bibi’s daughter.

"Doesn't the chief executive of a province have the authority to at least summon that officer and ask him about the matter?" he asked.

'Nation must decide whether it is to tolerate corruption'

Coming to corruption, the prime minister said the nation must decide whether it is to tolerate corruption or not. "If the answer is yes, then we have no future. Then, just ask yourselves why there is no corruption in developed countries."

He noted the example of China as an emerging super power, saying, "It might even surpass US. They have served death sentences to 400 people in past on year. I didn't invent the term corruption, it existed which is why Pakistan lags behind."

Khan said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is not under him at all, adding, "Else at least 50 big fishes would have been in jail for corruption now."

'Pakistanis have $11bn in 26 countries abroad'

Khan said according to data shared by 26 countries, Pakistani nationals have bank accounts with amount worth $11 billion cumulatively, while the country looks for aids worth $5-6 billion.

"From Swiss government, we sought data from 5 years ago since many money launderers moved their money from Swiss accounts after the Panama Leaks," he said.

"One interesting aspect was that the UAE and Saudi Arabia didn't share data of 'Iqama (employment contract)' holders citing that it is equivalent to their citizenship and hence data could not be shared. Now, you will know why Iqamas were sought secretly."

'Good times ahead'

The prime minister took the moment to tell the public that they would not have deficit anymore.

"Good times are ahead. We will recover money and we will have investments," he said.

Pakistan-India ties

Khan said the ground breaking ceremony of Kartarpur corridor was smooth and there was opposition from military in this regard.

"Kartarpur is to Sikhs what Madina is to us. Imagine how sad it would be if we were barred from going to Madina or imagine how happy we would be if we can freely and easily go to Madina," he said.

The premier further said that France and Germany’s analogy may apply to India and Pakistan because the former two fought many wars. "That doesn't make Pakistan-India relations same as that of German and France.

"To say that India and Pakistan are same nation and there should be no boundaries between us is inappropriate," he elaborated. 

"We are not same nation. We are Quaid e Azam’s true nation."


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