Pakistanis prefer to go down with me than supporting 'three stooges': PM Imran Khan

PM challenges media, economists, Opposition to hold a debate over economy and government's performance in 3.5 years

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Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the overseas convention in Islamabad, on March 15, 2022. — APP
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the overseas convention in Islamabad, on March 15, 2022. — APP

  • PM Imran challenges media, economists, Opposition to hold a debate.
  • PM dubs Opposition leaders Fazl, Zardari, and Shahbaz "three stooges".
  • He thanks Opposition for helping people forget prices of "tomato, potato".

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said Tuesday the entire nation was ready to go down with him rather than supporting the "three stooges", as he slammed the Opposition amid rising political tensions due to the no-confidence motion.

In his address to the convention of overseas Pakistanis in Islamabad, the prime minister said: "When the people saw the faces of the three stooges — PML-N President Shahbaz Sharif, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, and PPP Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari — they decided against supporting them and expressed their desire to go down with [me]."

The prime minister thanked the Opposition for moving the no-confidence motion as through this, his party had strengthened, with people all-geared up for the March 27 rally — which is expected to take place at D-Chowk just a day before the National Assembly votes on the no-trust motion.

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PM Imran Khan also thanked the Opposition "wholeheartedly" as they had made people forget the rates of potatoes and tomatoes.

The premier said he and his team were always trying to figure out ways to reduce the impact of inflation on the masses, but after the Opposition's no-confidence motion, the focus shifted to mainstream politics rather than inflation.

PM Imran Khan said neither of the three parties — PPP, PML-N, and JUI-F — worked at the grass-root levels and did "actual politics", while the PTI struggled for more than two decades to get to where it is today. "They cannot defeat us."

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"Nawaz became the chief minister through General Jilani; Shahbaz, who used to give bribes to get his work done, has now become; Zardari became the president by 'showing' a fake paper; Fazl has been selling the religion from the last 30 years," he said.

PM's predictions on no-trust motion, 2023 elections

PM Imran Khan said the Opposition leaders were under the "false impression that the people had forgotten their corruption", but they were wrong as now, they had fallen into the "captain's trap".

"I predict that not only is their no-confidence motion going to fail, but they will taste defeat in the 2023 general elections as well," he said, foreseeing his party's triumph in the polls.

Moving on to praise overseas Pakistanis, he thanked them for supporting the country and sending a record remittance through which the state was running its economic affairs.

Read more: No-trust motion leaves IMF-Pakistan review talks in jeopardy

"But when overseas Pakistanis, who are working hard abroad, see these corrupt politicians enjoying parties and living in palaces in foreign countries, they are hurt," he lamented.

Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the overseas convention in Islamabad, on March 15, 2022. — APP
Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing the overseas convention in Islamabad, on March 15, 2022. — APP

PM Imran Khan said due to the corruption of the politicians, the country had become a "slave" to the foreign powers. "When our then prime minister [Nawaz Sharif] met then US president Barack Obama, his legs were shaking as he was cautious against saying something his 'master' might feel bad about."

"Because they know [those countries] can catch their [corrupt Pakistani politicians'] money laundering whenever they want," the prime minister said. 

Read more: GDA assures Imran Khan of complete support

As a result of having corrupt leaders, the prime minister said that Pakistan faced drone attacks during the tenure of the previous governments — resulting in the loss of lives and capital.

"If we don't respect ourselves, then the world will not respect us," the prime minister said, as he shed light on the casualties that Pakistan incurred because of the US "War on Terror".

'Not anti-US, UK, and India'

PM Imran Khan said he was against America's "War on Terror", the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the Hindutva mindset that prevailed in India.

"But am I not anti-US, UK, and India [...] I pray that a sensible leadership comes into power in India so that we can hold talks with them after revoking the August 5, 2019, decision on Kashmir."

The prime minister lamented that the Western nations had double standards as they do not allow people to become the judge, jury, and executioners in their homeland.

"But they (Western powers) were bombing on the Pakistani land and killing innocent people [...] and they are responsible for this," he said, lashing out at the previous governments of PPP and PML-N.

Challenge to economists, media, Opposition

Talking about the government's development and social works, he said that the PTI launched health cards for the underprivileged people — the like of which was "not available" even in the United States.

He said after a 50-year hiatus, dams were being built in the country. "In the last 50 years, no dam was built. Mohmand Dam will be built in 2025, Dasu in 2026, and Basha Dam in 2028 will help us save more water."

He challenged the media, economists, and the Opposition parties to hold a debate with the government over its performance since coming into power in 2018.

"You took turns for 30-35 years [...] but you could not help the country progress in the manner that we did within 3.5 years," the prime minister said confidently.

Praises the Pakistan Army

Speaking about the army, he said the Pakistani military was the reason behind the country's stability, as he gave an example of other Muslim countries — Libya, Syria, and Yemen — where the situation was dismal.

Noting that despite having differences with former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, PM Imran Khan lauded him and acknowledged that he was a self-reliant leader.

'Whole nation trusts PM Imran Khan's leadership'

For his part, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhary said the "whole nation trusts in the leadership of PM Imran Khan", and the Opposition's move against such a "popular leader" would not succeed.

The federal minister said PM Imran Khan was a "symbol of pride" for Pakistan, who always struggled for national interest, contrary to the Opposition's leaders who put the country in "crisis" to safeguard their personal interests.

He expressed confidence that the Opposition would not succeed in its no-trust move against the prime minister.