Hours after presenting the first budget under his government amid the hue and cry from the opposition, Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke to the nation in a mid-night address.
The address, initially scheduled to be aired at 9:30 pm, was pushed to 10:30 pm but started only a few minutes before midnight.
In his 35-minute long address, PM Imran Khan started with highlighting the pillars of Riyasat-e-Madina-like model state and went on to thrash the parties which took turns in the past and left the country under a massive debt.
Here are the highlights of Prime Minister’s flamboyant address:
Shift in Focus
- The premier said the opposition had, from the day one, never let him speak on the floor (of the parliament) because they knew he would talk about their corruption and the nexus of two parties.
- He said that he spent the first nine months in the office coping with the pressure to stabilize the economy and to face off the fear of defaulting.
- “Now that the country’s economy is stable, my focus would be more targeted towards bringing those to the task those who left the country badly in debt.”
Comments on Previous Govts
- He reflected that in the last ten years (referring to the tenures of PPP and PML-N government) the country’s debt ballooned to Rs. 30,000 billion from Rs. 6,000 billion.
- PM Khan observed that while the country sunk into massive debt, the wealth of three families touched the skies.
- “When the debt was increasing, their wealth rose by 85 percent.”
- PM Khan said Sharif and Zardari families made all their assets abroad by laundering the looted money.
- Khan said: “Instead of explaining their past deeds, the thieves teamed up against PTI government and starting questioning the reason for the economic debacle in the country.”
- Khan said he plans to go after the thieves who brought Pakistan to the point where half of the annual budget goes in servicing of the interest on those loans.
- “My mistake is I didn’t cave under pressure and give them an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance]. The country fell into debt because of these NROs.”
- Referring to the NAB cases, Khan said he had no hand in cases against the opposition so far, as they had been reaping what they sowed for each other, but vowed to make them accountable for destroying the country’s economy.
- “The NAB cases are old. I didn’t start them. We weren’t in power when Panama or the case against Shehbaz Sharif was started.”
- Prime Minister finally announced to form a high-powered inquiry commission under his own supervision which will investigate how the country’s debt rose by 24,000 billion in just ten years.
- Khan said the commission would comprise of members from FIA (Federal Investigation Agency), IB (Intelligence Bureau), ISI (the Inter-services Intelligence Directorate), FBR (Federal Board of Revenue) and SECP (Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan).
- The commission will prepare a detailed report so that no one in the future dares to leave the country in tatters ever again.
Khan, the Unshakable
- The premier said the opposition has only one agenda; “To obtain NRO by pressurizing the government.”
- Khan said that he would not cave to pressure tactics because he does not fear to lose power. “The government is a small thing, even if my life goes; I will not leave these thieves. I had prayed to Allah for this one chance — I will not leave them.”
A Sneak Peek into Naya Pakistan
- Reacting to the mega arrests in the past 30 hours, the prime minister said he was grateful to the Almighty now that the bigwigs of corruption are in jail, as no one could have imagined [it could be done.]
- “This is the Naya Pakistan where the law is equal for both strong and weak. You will slowly see independence in institutions.”
Appeal for Taxes
- PM Khan concluded his address by appealing the nation to trust the government and pay taxes because that’s what runs a government.
- He said it was surprising that the Pakistani nation was number one in the world in charity but lagged far behind in taxpaying.
- He also urged people to take advantage of his government’s last amnesty scheme and declare all their benami assets as, after the deadline of June 30, all non-declared assets will be seized.