Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that he is ready to forgive the dissident MNAs of the PTI given that they re-join the party.

Addressing a rally in the Dargai tehsil of the Malakand district, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the premier talked about two dozen disgruntled MNAs of the PTI who had taken refuge in the Sindh House fearing reprisal from him.

They have “committed a mistake by accepting a bribe from the opposition.”

“A leader is like a father figure to you,” the premier said. “Now, the nation has become exceedingly aware of politics because of social media, so even a child in the country knows that when a party member becomes a turncoat, there is money involved.”

Prime Minister Imran reiterated that the whole nation would assume that the MNAs have “sold their conscience by voting in favour of thieves.” 

“You will not be able to attend public gatherings and no one would marry your children when they’d grow up,” he warned his MNAs.

“We all make mistakes. Allah also forgives his slaves. I am just like a father figure to you all. But for God’s sake, don’t make such a big mistake [by joining hands with the corrupt]. Think about your children’s future.”

Amid political tensions in the country as the opposition has submitted a no-confidence motion to oust the premier and has demanded it to be tabled on Monday, PM Imran said that the time has come for the people of Pakistan to make a decision now, adding that the youth will support the party that has worked for the sake of Pakistan. 

Taking a jibe at the opposition, he said that the PML-N threw PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari in jail during its tenure, while the PPP also initiated corruption cases against PML-N, including the Hudaibiya Paper Mills case, when they were in power. 

He said that it was the PML-N that had assigned the derogatory title of “diesel” to JUI-F’s Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman as they accused him of selling diesel permits after taking money from the PPP.

“I, therefore, question the opposition: Is thievery only bad when your adversary commits it? But when they join hands with you, does it become acceptable?” the premier said.

He said that a leader has to lead by example, so if the public would see that their leader is corrupt, they will also follow suit.

“When a nation becomes morally corrupt, it stops working hard because it resorts to corruption as it brings easy money,” he said.

The premier said that in the last three-and-a-half years, the PTI-led government did things for the betterment of the country that had been unprecedented.

“I am the only leader in the history of Pakistan who brought up the issue of Islamophobia on every international platform. I thank Allah and the Holy Prophet (PBUH) for giving me success and now the United Nations has also acknowledged the issue.”

Last week, the United Nations, comprising 193-member states, adopted a landmark resolution introduced by Pakistan, on behalf of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC), designating March 15 as “International Day to Combat Islamophobia”.

The prime minister said that Fazal, throughout his 30-year career, couldn’t muster the courage to bring the issue of Islamophobia up because he was scared of being labelled as a terrorist. 

PM Imran, while praising the achievement of his government, said that under his leadership, the country steered itself out of the deadly coronavirus pandemic for which the entire world lauded Pakistan.

“The country is now on the path to progress which had never been witnessed before,” he said.

The premier then talked about the tax collection targets that his government achieved and also shed light on the record number of remittances received from abroad which, he said, added greatly to the national exchequer. 

“We also broke records in terms of agricultural exports, industrial production, IT exports, and the construction sector,” he said.

“The PTI government collaborated with different banks to provide [housing] loans to people so that they could become homeowners.”

He said that his government is the only one in the country’s history that has worked to modernise Lahore. 

The prime minister also heaped praise on his government for successfully reaching an agreement with Barrick Gold for the development of the Reko Diq mine after 10 years of legal battles and negotiations. 

“I congratulate the people of Balochistan on this landmark achievement,” he said.

PM Imran then responded to criticism on the rising prices of petroleum products in Pakistan and said: “The price of petrol in Pakistan is cheaper than Dubai even though the UAE produces its own oil.”

“Akin to that, the petrol price in India and the United Kingdom is also much higher as compared to our country.”

The premier then talked about his popular rhetoric of turning Pakistan into a welfare state — based on the model of Riyasat-e-Madina — and said that for the first time in the country’s history, the PTI government introduced the concept of the health card.

“Ever since I joined politics, I had always wanted to work on the health sector of the country. Now, the poor masses of the country will not have to worry about financing health as the government has provided every family with health insurance of Rs1 million.”

The premier then talked about different projects that the PTI government introduced for the betterment of the country, including the development of the tourism industry, the building of shelter homes, efforts to minimise the effects of climate change, the introduction of the single national curriculum.

PM Imran Khan then addressed the media and said that as the watchdog of the society, it has a big role to play in strengthening democracy, adding that it is the job of the media is to create awareness among the masses.

At the same time, he said, the media has to adopt ethical practices and stand against evil.

 “Unfortunately, a lot of media houses work solely for money, and some even accept foreign funding. I leave it to the public to find out which media houses are standing with the thieves [the opposition],” he said. 

“The nation is observing the media and it can see which media house is working in favour of Pakistan and which one is a sell-out,” he said.


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