KARACHI: Prime Minister Imran Khan, who is in US on a three-day official visit, addressed a 'record-setting' gathering of the Pakistani diaspora in Washington early on Monday.
PM Imran Khan was warmly welcomed at Capital One Arena. The excitement of overseas Pakistanis in DC was touching the skies, as the whole arena echoed with 'Pakistan Zindabad' slogans.
The program was started with the recitation of Holy Quran. National anthems of the two countries were also played on the occasion.
The Junoon's Salman Ahmed mesmerised a jam-packed audience with their extraordinary lively performance with the immortal song "Hey Jazba Junoon Tu Himmat Na Haar".
Addressing the charged participants, PM Imran said: "I thank you from the heart for giving me so much respect today. I had thought that in Washington we will call 500-1000 people to a hotel and speak to them. I couldn’t even fathom that I would get to speak to you in such a big arena."
Khan highlighted the importance of merit, saying: "Nations that have gone ahead in world are those who have achieved progress on basis of meritocracy.
Imran Khan added: "I will give you example of cricket. Australia is that team which has been the most successful in cricket; why? This is because Australia has a system that nurtures and lets talent rise."
He said: "If there is anywhere in the world that I have seen the best of cricketing talent; it is in Pakistan. But because we don’t have a system of merit, our talent is not given the opportunity to rise"
PM said: In dynasties, the son of a King may not necessarily be a good leader. In democracies like the US, it's the system of merit that lets their people choose their leaders, adding: "There is a reason why the Muslim world has been left behind; the Mughal Empire was at its peak and then went into decline because successive dynastic rulers did not have the capability to lead.
Taking a jibe at opponents, PM Imran said: "Nawaz Sharif was propped up by dictator. Asif Zardari & Bilawal became leaders on basis of some piece of paper that left party behind to them. Similar stories with other parties."
He said: "You go anywhere in the world, see China’s communist party and you see how they reward merit and let the best of the best come up. The beauty of democracy is merit."
PM said: "In democracy, it is the leader of the country who is accountable. This is a very important tenet of our religion as well; that leaders are accountable , adding: "But in Pakistan; when courts make a decision, they say 'Kyun Nikala'."
Khan further said: "What’s happening today in Pakistan is 'Naya Pakistan'. Where the powerful are being held accountable."
Recalling the days when the system was prospering in the country, PM said: "When I was growing up, Pakistan was an exemplary country in the subcontinent with the best civil services and bureaucracy. Our hospitals were top quality and people from the outside would come and study in Pakistan."
He said: "We, however sadly saw Pakistan decline. And then we started seeing the use of money and buying of public office in politics."
Khan said: "But today, Naya Pakistan is a place where every public office holder is accountable to the people.
He said they want to hear three letters; NRO, adding that despite the messages even from the outside, he will not let accountability go.
Premier further said that their undeclared properties are being seized. "The billions they have taken overseas, Pakistan is in talks with other governments to bring that looted wealth back to Pakistan."
Imran Khan said: "We will attract investment from the world by cleaning up corruption and showing an honest government to the world."
State of Madina
PM said that Madina was the first state made on the basis of welfare and justice. "It had empathy for the weak; for widows, orphans, the elderly, the most downtrodden, adding that minorities had equal rights in the state of Madina. It formed the basis for modern day society as we know it today."
"There was a system of merit in which no one was discriminated against on the basis of class, gender, religion," said PM.
He added that women were given rights for the first time in the state of Madina. "It is unfortunate that our women in so many parts of Pakistan do not get their rights. But we are bringing in laws to protect the women of Pakistan ."