Speaking at an event in Chakwal today, Prime Minister Imran Khan lambasted the opposition for using rhetoric similar to Indian propaganda to criticise Pakistan’s government and armed forces, and said that Pakistan is in greater need of its armed forces now than ever.
“The way the political opposition of Pakistan has attacked the Pakistan Army has never happened before in our history,” said the prime minister.
Addressing a gathering after laying the foundation for Rs 15 billion worth of projects in Chakwal district—including a 500-bed hospital, ring road, a university, and a school—the premier expressed disdain for the opposition parties’ language of criticism.
The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an 11-party opposition alliance that has been demanding the prime minister’s resignation over allegations of election rigging, has recently raised questions against the Pakistani state and establishment.
Referring to such criticism as unprecedented, Prime Minister Imran Khan registered his disappointment with the opposition.
“This is the first time in the history of Pakistan that the opposition has targetted the Army in this manner. There is no prior example of this,” he said. “The criticism being dealt out these days, I am sorry to say, is using the language that India’s propaganda machine uses against the Pakistan Army.”
He compared the opposition’s opinions to those espoused by Indian propaganda networks, the latest of which was exposed in a report by the Brussels-based EUDisinfo Lab. The network peddled anti-Pakistan content through fake news websites and NGOs, and attempted to discredit Pakistan on the global stage.
“The purpose of this was to present Pakistan in a negative light in front of the world and to portray that there is chaos so that no investment comes in the country,” said the prime minister. He also commented on the Narendra Modi government’s atrocities in Kashmir and India, saying he has never witnessed a ruling party as “extremist, totalitarian, racist and anti-Muslim” as Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
He said that the Indian disinformation network criticised Pakistan’s institutions the same way the opposition is doing. He dismissed all allegations by the opposition of election rigging by asking why they did not raise their concerns through proper channels like the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) or the Supreme Court.
“Did you go to Parliament and take up the issue?” he asked. “Did you say at any forum that the election was rigged?”
Prime Minister Imran also criticised the opposition for its “30 years” of corruption and looting, citing international media outlets that had documented their misdemeanors.
“There are articles published on them abroad. BBC has made two documentaries about [Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari] and their corruption. You can see on TV what they used to say about each other […] they used to call the other corrupt,” he said of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders.
The prime minister added that Pakistan is now in greater need of its armed forces than ever. “This is the time we need them [Army] more than ever. I have never seen an opposition trying to undermine its country like this just to get an NRO,” he said.
He reiterated that he would never give the opposition a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), and no subsequent government ever should. Calling the opposition’s political credentials into question, he said that the public in a democracy should hold its leaders accountable.
“If someone asks them what their job experience is they’ll say that their fathers are the most corrupt men in Pakistan. This is their qualification. They have not worked for an hour in their life and are here to run a country,” the prime minister added.