Saturday Nov 28, 2020
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday said that he was not under any pressure from the Armed Forces of Pakistan, saying that the PTI was in charge of the country's foreign policy.
"The army hasn't [directed] me to do one thing which I did not want to do," he said. "I would have resisted the army if they exerted pressure on me. The entire foreign policy [being implemented today] is mine, you can check the PTI's manifesto," he added.
The premier was being interviewed by a private news channel during which he spoke on various issues and also took aim at the Opposition leadership.
The prime minister said that Pakistan's foreign policy today was centered around the PTI's manifesto, adding that the world was praising Pakistan for advocating non-military solutions to conflicts.
"There was pressure on us to take a side in a conflict between any Muslim countries; we said we would remain neutral and play our role in uniting Muslim countries instead," he said.
Responding to a question, he said that former PTI general-secretary Jahangir Tareen was going through "difficult times" but said that he would not interfere in the sugar inquiry investigation.
"Jahangir Tareen has been really close to us [in the past], we have worked together in the past closely," he said. "Tareen says he is innocent. The investigation is going on, I will not interfere in matters of institutions," added the prime minister.
PM Imran Khan said that under his government, an inquiry against the sugar cartel was launched for the first time in Pakistan's history. He said that an FIR had also been registered against Tareen.
The prime minister was asked about former Punjab government spokesperson Fayyaz Chohan who was shown the door a couple of weeks ago and Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan was appointed special assistant to the chief minister of Punjab.
"We need both Fayyaz Chohan and Firdous Ashiq Awan," he said. "In order to win the match, you need to change the team sometimes," added PM Imran Khan.
The premier said that Chohan wanted a "strong" ministry which he had been given now.
Speaking further about the Punjab government, PM Imran Khan said that the PTI had brought in people on merit. "The same setup was in power in Punjab over the past 30 years," he said. "We brought in people on merit."
He said that the new IG Punjab was doing a fabulous job, adding that Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar was doing a commendable job as far as development projects were concerned.
"You will see that after five years, Usman Buzdar will be the number one chief minister in the country," he said.
When asked to respond to allegations of being a "selected" prime minister, PM Imran Khan said that he couldn't understand their criticism at him.
He said that PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari was the leader of his party because "he had shown a piece of paper" (in reference to Benazir Bhutto's will) and Maryam Nawaz was leading the PML-N because she was Nawaz Sharif's daughter.
"And they make these allegations against a man who has struggled in politics for the past 22 years," said the prime minister, referring to himself.
He said that the leaderships of the PML-N and the PPP had opened corruption cases against themselves. "Nawaz Sharif threw Asif Zardari in jail," he said. "Our government only made cases against Shahbaz Sharif."
Referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif's medical condition, the premier said that when he read the PML-N chief's medical reports, he couldn't help but wonder whether a person could suffer from so many ailments.
"No one exerted pressure on me to send Nawaz Sharif abroad," he said. "No one exerted pressure on me and neither can anybody do so," PM Imran Khan added.
The prime minister said that whatever he does, the ISI and IB know about it.