Country heading in right direction: People will now see the difference: PM


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said the nation would soon see the difference, as Pakistan is heading in the right direction and it would go from strength to strength.

In an exclusive interview with Al-Jazeera TV programme on Saturday , he said the PTI government had inherited the worst economic woes which no other regime in the past had to face.

He said the government faced the biggest current account deficit causing pressure on rupee and leading to inflation, but the good news is that after taking the most difficult decisions the deficit has narrowed down to 70 per cent and economy is now headed in the right direction.

After completion of five years, the prime minister said, the PTI government would leave behind ‘a surplus economy’ and it would be the last International Monetary Fund (IMF) package for the country. To another query, the prime minister maintained that the IMF has not dictated anything against the country’s sovereignty.

To a question about taking U-turns, Imran Khan said an idiot would not take U-turns whereas an intelligent person always revise his strategy, and cited his decisions during his cricketing career. “An idiot would bang his head against a stone-wall,” he added. About the minorities’ rights in Pakistan, he said his government had pledged that every Pakistani regardless of religion would be treated as equal citizen.

Imran referred to the opening of Kartarpur Corridor for the Sikh community, expressing his resolve to protect the religious sites of all minorities. They would open up all such sites, he added. He said mistreatment of minorities is against the Constitution of Pakistan, Islam and the principles of Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him). “Whereas the difference could be seen in India where the Bharatiya Janata Party government, under the control of RSS (Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh), is in power which is persecuting the minorities,” he added.

The prime minister said they have already introduced a ‘New (Naya) Pakistan’ in which rule of law is supreme. There is no precedent in the country’s history when mega corrupt elements are put into jails like it happened now, he said, adding that there is not a single corruption case against any incumbent minister or the prime minister, as none of them have any conflict of interests. The government is devolving powers at the local level to empower the local populace, he said, adding the government is actually taking the most difficult decisions ever taken in the country’s history. He also cited improvement in the power sector by controlling the losses and theft. Imran Khan said what his government did was never been done by the previous regimes.

Ruling out resumption of dialogue with India led by ‘extreme right wing, racist and fascist Bharatiya Janata Party’, Prime Minister Imran Khan said India is trying to bankrupt Pakistan and push it into the blacklist of Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

The prime minister said after assuming office in August 2018, his government tried to start dialogue with India and sort out all differences, including the core Kashmir issue, through a political settlement, but they pulled back after realising that Modi-led government had an agenda to push Pakistan into a disaster. “No question of talking to the Indian government right now after it revoked Article 370 of its constitution and annexed Kashmir illegally against the UNSC resolutions. They not only unilaterally violated the international laws, but also their own laws,” he said, adding the UN resolution called for plebiscite in the Occupied Kashmir, so that Kashmiris could determine their own fate.

He said the two countries had similar problems, including climate change, but their sincere urge for dialogue was misinterpreted. “The BJP extreme right wing, racist and fascist government is treating us as if we are scared of them. They took our peace gesture as an appeasement,” he added. The prime minister said India was more or less conducting a genocide, a sort of racial attack against Muslims and minorities, never witnessed in the history after Nazi’s Germany.

“About eight million Muslims in Occupied Kashmir have been under siege for almost six weeks now. The developments have made the region a flash point, as India can do anything like it did after the Pulwama attack to divert world’s attention from its illegal annexation of Occupied Kashmir and genocide of the Kashmiri Muslims. They will try to blame Pakistan and can do what they have done in last February, and Pakistan has fears that such like incident can happen again,” he added.

Clarifying a question, the prime minister maintained that there should be no confusion over his statement that Pakistan would never start a war. I’m pacifist and anti-war. I am clear about it,” he said, cautioning that if two nuclear armed countries fought a conventional war, there is every possibility that it could end up into a nuclear conflict, which is unthinkable. “In that case, such a conflict would have far reaching consequences going beyond the Indian sub-continent,” he added.

If the international community, he said, failed to resolve the Kashmir issue, it would have impact upon the entire world and the markets of the entire world. The prime minister said they would approach all international fora to highlight the plight of the Kashmiri people and the illegal and unilateral steps taken by India. “They must act now as the situation would have the potential to snowball into a disaster spilling beyond the Indian sub-continent,” he reiterated.

The prime minister said they would be urging the world powers like the US, Russia and the European countries, to play their role in resolving the issue and mentioned that China has been very supportive to Pakistan. About US President Donald Trump’s offer to mediate between Pakistan and India, Khan said they were really thankful to him for his offer, elaborating that when the US president seriously intervened in an issue, there would be some sort of resolution.

Secondly, if the US did not directly intervene, it had a role in the United Nations and the Security Council to exercise, he added. Imran said India is stone-walling this suggestion because it knew that once the international community is involved, it would insist upon implementing the exercise of right to self-determination by the Kashmiri people. The prime minister, to a question, replied that during his upcoming UN General Assembly session, he would focus on the Kashmir situation.

About the US president’s announcement to cancel talks with the Taliban, the prime minister termed it unfortunate and expressed the hope that it would be a temporary thing. President Donald Trump, he hoped, would get the talks going again. “There is no other solution; no military solution to the Afghan issue, the only way out is to getting back to the dialogue table,” he added. He said Pakistan had been playing its part for durable peace in Afghanistan and encouraging all parties for dialogue.