Thursday Oct 06, 2022
ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif Thursday took a jibe at PTI Chairman Imran Khan and called him the “biggest fraudster” as he denied any involvement of the coalition government in the audio leaks controversy.
“I can swear to God he [Khan] is a fraudster and has tried to create rifts in important institutions of Pakistan,” he said while addressing a press conference flanked by Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb and Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal.
The premier began his important presser by narrating the incidents that ensued during the time the no-confidence motion was moved by the then-joint Opposition back in April.
“Let’s go back to April 3 when voting was to be held on the no-confidence motion and everybody knows the incidents that took place on that day. But I just want to narrate what exactly happened,” he said.
The premier recalled that the then-deputy speaker of the National Assembly Qasim Suri, who was officiating the proceedings on behalf of then-speaker Asad Qaiser, allowed the then-information minister [Fawad Chaudhry] to speak before the voting began.
Fawad read a statement which mentioned that a conspiracy had been hatched against the PTI government and termed it a “foreign conspiracy”, the premier said.
“On this, Suri sahab refused to allow the voting process to take place without even taking the Opposition into confidence,” PM Shehbaz went on to say, adding that the "hues and cries of the Opposition were ignored."
The PM went on to say that within no time, Imran Khan appeared on the television screens and announced that he was dissolving the National Assembly, “surprisingly the summary was also passed by the president of Pakistan within 20 minutes.”
“I am not repeating the incidents. I just want to talk about the links between the entire conspiracy,” he clarified.
Taking a jibe at President Arif Alvi, the premier said that the president who takes days and weeks to approve summaries, including the one regarding the appointment of the governor of Punjab, passed the summary regarding the dissolution of assemblies within 20 minutes.
“This was the basis of the conspiracy that Khan has been playing along with for the last five months and wasting the nation’s time,” PM Shehbaz said, lamenting that due to his wrongdoings, the country’s relations with the biggest powers of the world had been compromised.
Recalling that several “baseless allegations” were levelled at several coalition government leaders during this time, he said: “You can say whatever you want, but calling someone a traitor […] there is no bigger conspiracy than it.”
“On the floor of the Lower House, I said that if God forbid this conspiracy was proved against me or the coalition, then the nation has the right to hang me.”
Speaking about the recently surfaced audio leaks allegedly featuring Khan and his former federal ministers, the premier said that the leaks had revealed the PTI chief’s truth.
“He can be heard saying that this was a game […] they can be heard saying that minutes of the meeting should be made according to their wishes. They played with the nation’s trust. The country’s honour was sabotaged in such a manner that no such example is found in history […] this is nothing less than treason,” Shehbaz said, claiming that Khan played a “serious game with the country”.
“I am asking you all, is there any doubt left as to who was behind the conspiracy?”
PM Shehbaz said that he was holding an address today "to sensitise the nation” against the “biggest liar in the country”, alleging that Imran could sacrifice the country for his personal benefits.
'Imran Niazi lies day and night'
The prime minister, while continuing his tirade against Khan's "conniving ways", said: "Imran Niazi lies day and night and commits fraud,” he said.
“He is a fraud… a fraud. I can vow that he is a fraud… a fraud,” the premier repeatedly said, adding that the PTI chief lies “day and night”.
PM Shehbaz also alleged that Khan tried to divide the armed forces of Pakistan.
“The army has rendered great and unparalleled sacrifices,” he said.
Indirectly referring to a business deal worth £190 million, the premier termed it the “biggest robbery in the history of the country”.
“Million-pound means that around Rs5 billion have been robbed,” he added.
Lambasting the PTI chief for his claims regarding the coalition government wanting the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), he said: “Khan has given the NRO to himself and he claimed that amendments in National Accountability Bureau (NAB) laws were NRO.”
“[PML-N Vice President] Maryam Nawaz’s case has nothing to do with the amendments in NAB laws,” he clarified.
“Did I give NRO to his sister Aleema Khan?” he questioned, adding that the nation only saw how Khan’s assets in New York and Dubai weren’t declared.
He said: “A person who is the trustee of the Namal University and Shaukat Khanum Hospital, and gets a clean chit from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), then is it not the NRO?”
PM Shehbaz said that the final decision has to be taken by the 220 million people of Pakistan as to who they want to support after the leaked audios revealed all the ill intentions.
Talking about the aid received by Pakistan to stabilise the economy, the premier said: “The United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar helped Pakistan.”
Terming Khan and his party a "gang", the premier said that they do not want the world to give any aid to Pakistan and want Pakistan to be destroyed.
“They pushed the country to the worst crises [in history],” he said.
Commenting on the damage Khan and his party had inflicted on Pakistan’s association with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in the past, PM Shehbaz said that the finance minister during the PTI’s regime created confusion.
“They made agreements with the IMF on their own and later ripped apart the conditions,” he said, adding that it was the coalition government that tried to safeguard the IMF agreement.
“The-then finance minister [Shaukat Tarin] created confusion,” he said, further commenting on the statements issued by PTI leaders to hinder the IMF deal led by former finance minister Miftah Ismail in August this year.
“Khan wanted Pakistan to face a similar situation like Sri Lanka,” he said, maintaining that the PTI chief had time and again said that Pakistan will become Sri Lanka.
“I am a sinner but I will never lie to the nation,” he said, adding that if he speaks wrongly, the nation can hold him accountable.
PM Shehbaz warned that if Khan once again comes into power, the “country will be destroyed”. The premier further added that the PTI chief has time and again defamed Pakistan.
“Is telling lies, committing frauds, and hatching conspiracies his [Khan’s] patriotism and leadership?" he asked, adding that a person who says he is perfect dies his own death.
Shedding light on PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif’s return, he said: “When Mian will come, he will bring prosperity along with him.”
Replying to a question, the premier said that the cypher —which Khan claims contain details of a foreign conspiracy to oust him from power — can’t be decoded by the government.
“If it is, then all the cables from all embassies can be leaked or stolen,” he explained. PM Shehbaz reiterated that the prime minister’s copy of the cypher — also referred to as the master copy — had gone missing.
The PM also revealed that the cabinet had decided to probe the audio leaks, adding that an investigation into them had already been initiated. “We will tell the nation [the findings] with complete transparency.”
‘Army chief’s appointment decision to be taken as per law’
The prime minister asserted that the appointment of the next army chief — upcoming in November — will be done as per the Constitution.
“It [the appointment] has a process in the law and Constitution and the decision will be taken according to that.”
Commenting on the flood situation, the premier said that the government is spending nearly Rs100 billion from the national exchequer for flood affectees, adding that Rs70 billion have been given to the victims under the Benazir Income Support Programme (BISP).
“Flood victims still need tents and food,” he said recalling that the UN Secretary-General António Guterres raised his voice for the flood-weary Pakistani on international platforms.
Acknowledging the support received from China, the USA, Japan, and others, he said that efforts to rehabilitate the flood victims are still underway.