Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday claimed that the opposition’s no-trust move is part of an alleged “foreign-funded conspiracy” hatched against his government over his refusal to have Pakistan’s foreign policy be influenced from abroad.
He made these allegations at his party’s power show titled Amr Bil Maroof (enjoin the good) and billed as a “historic” event at Parade Ground in Islamabad.
The prime minister took the podium after his fellow PTI leaders took turns addressing their party workers and supporters, who had assembled at his call ahead of a no-trust move against him in the National Assembly.
In what was a marathon speech lasting almost two hours, PM Imran discussed his political ideology, recalled what he said were his government’s achievements and criticised his opponents.
As he moved towards the climax of his speech, the prime minister said: “Attempts are being made to influence our foreign policy from abroad. We have been aware of this conspiracy for months. We also know about those who have assembled these people (the opposition parties) but the time has changed. This is not the era of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
“This is the era of social media. Nothing can be hidden. We will not accept anyone’s dictation. We will have friendships with everyone, but we will not submit ourselves to anyone.
“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing, but we will not compromise on national interest.”
He claimed to be in possession of evidence — a letter — that he said would prove his point. “I am placing the case of Pakistan’s independence before you. The letter I have is proof and I want to dare anyone who is doubting this letter. I will invite them off the record. We have to decide for how long we will have to live like this. We are getting threats. There are many things about foreign conspiracy which will be shared very soon.”
“The nation wants to know who the man sitting in London is meeting with and whose directions the characters based in Pakistan are following? I am revealing the proofs we have. I cannot talk more in detail because I have to protect the interest of my country. I cannot talk about anything that harms my country. I could have told you about it. I do not fear anyone but I care about Pakistan’s interest.”
At the onset of his speech, he thanked his supporters for gathering in the capital at his call. “First of all, I thank my nation. The way you turned up on my call from all corners of Pakistan, I appreciate you from the bottom of my heart. I also pay tribute to my team of parliamentarians as ‘you were offered money and attempts were made to bribe you but you made me happy and I am proud of you.’
“I want to speak my heart out and I want you to listen to me quietly. I invited you for Amr Bil Maroof to emphasise that our Pakistan was built on the ideology of Islamic welfare state. We had to build the country on the basis of Riyasat e Madina.
“Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said [in his speech earlier that] there is an external interference in Pakistan … I will speak about it later. [First], you must understand that we cannot become a nation until we stand by our actual ideology.
“I want to clarify that I also did not know the ideology of Pakistan for quite some time. I left for abroad at the age of 18. As I began to understand the religion, I noticed that the orders of Allah to the Holy Prophet (PBUH) were implemented more in the West.
“In Britain, free medical treatment, free education, unemployment benefits, and free legal aid is given to the people. Our Prophet had created Riysat-e-Madina where the state had taken responsibility of its people.”
The prime minister recalled what he said were his government’s measures to alleviate the burden on the public.
“We are providing loans to families for housing, technical education and small businesses. As soon as our tax was enhanced, I announced a subsidy and reduced rates of petrol and ‘Fazlur Rehman’,” he said. “I also offered a subsidy in power tariff. I promise I will spend more money on my people as our government collects more capital in taxes.”
The prime minister linked his crusade against corruption with the teachings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
“Our Prophet had also emphasised for the supremacy of law. I don’t give them NRO because my Prophet had explained that nations get destroyed when you punish the poor and exempt the rich.
“Poor countries are backward because the law there fails to catch the rich who are involved in white collar crimes. They transfer stolen and looted money to offshore accounts. Small thieves do not destroy a country like the way big thieves do.”
“These ‘three stooges’ are looting the country for years and all this drama is being done to have Imran Khan surrender like Musharraf. They are trying to blackmail the government. General Musharraf tried to save his government and gave these thieves NRO and it resulted in the destruction of Pakistan.”
“Come what may, I will not forgive them even if my government goes or even if I lose my life,” he added.
PM Imran explained the reason why today’s gathering was named Amr Bil Maroof. “The meaning of Amr Bil Maroof is that a nation is bound to wage jihad against the evil and support the good. In Britain, two million people took to the streets during Iraq war. That was Amr Bil Maroof and this is what alive nations look like.
“I called you here because attempts are being made to bribe people. They decided to dislodge our government by claiming that Pakistan is being destroyed. I challenge that no government gave a performance like we did in our three and a half years.”
The premier listed a series of policy decisions taken by his government which he said benefited the country greatly and would continue to do so in future.
“Covid erupted that led to closure of the world, but I did not shut my country and faced criticism. I can proudly say that Pakistan’s steps were acknowledged by the world as they helped save the economy,” he said.
“World Bank recently released a report, which said Pakistan is the country where poverty is minimal. Later, our growth rate was more than 6 per cent. It stunned the opposition and the world.
“Our exports reached a historic high. We collected unprecedented tax. We gave incentives to overseas Pakistanis and received record remittances. We formed an ease-of-business model for the construction sector that led to the growth of 30 other allied industries.
“We saw record crops. It happened because we facilitated our farmers. We protected them. Now Pakistan’s industries are growing rapidly. Textile industries are struggling to find labour because all industries are working at their full capacity. This is the first time government is supporting its industries.”
He urged TV anchors to invite economic experts on their shows and conduct a comparison of his government’s performance with the previous ones.
Earlier. the premier had arrived at the venue in a helicopter as footage shared on the PTI’s Twitter account showed a large crowd in attendance, with buses and cars lined up outside.