WASHINGTON: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday night addressed a large gathering of overseas Pakistanis assuring them of changing the system back home to one which runs on merit.
“You will see Pakistan prosper every year,” the prime minister told the crowd at the Capital One Arena.
The prime minister laid out the difference between a democracy and monarchy. “Democracy has merit. In the world countries which progressed was because of meritocracy,” he said.
The prime minister giving an example of cricket said Australia was the most successful team because their system was based on talent. “Pakistan has the most cricket talent but does not come forward because there isn’t a system of merit,” he said.
Emphasising further on the benefits of democracy, Prime Minister Khan said Muslims were left behind because of monarchies. “In Pakistan, there was a type of Monarchy even where there was a democracy. Nawaz Sharif was made a leader by a military dictator. There was no merit. Shahbaz Sharif was made chief minister as he was Nawaz’s brother. Asif Zardari and Bilawal were made leaders because of a will,” he said.
The second beneficial thing about democracy, according to the prime minister, was the leadership of the country being answerable. “When leaders in Pakistan are held answerable they claim of being victimised. When the court rules they say why were we removed,” he said.
“A Naya Pakistan is being formed today. They (leadership) were never held answerable. A Naya Pakistan is being formed in front of your eyes,” said Imran Khan.
According to the prime minister, all cases against opposition leaders were not formed by his government, but were pending from before. “We only made institutions independent,” he said.
“Pakistan’s example was given as the fastest progressing country in Asia in the 1960s when I was growing up. Our bureaucracy was known to be the best in Asia. Our hospitals, universities had great standards…We saw this same Pakistan slipping because of the socialism in the 70s. But the real downfall came in 1985 when for the first time there was corruption in politics,” he said.
According to the prime minister, for the first time in Pakistan, the system of government schools was being fixed to bring a unified syllabus. He said the government was planning to introduce modern subjects like science in Madrassas so that the poor might also have a better economic opportunity.
“The PTI is the first party where no relative or friend of Imran Khan is on any post. This is the first party which works on merit,” he said.
Imran Khan said the entire opposition had united for the sole purpose of NRO. “This is the time to hold the powerful accountable…This is the time Pakistan will change,” he said.
“You (opposition) can become united… do what you must, you will have to return the money,” he said.
He announced to withdraw the A-class jail facilities from Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari and jail them along with the ordinary prisoners. “I will go back and remove his (Nawaz’) television and AC from prisons,” he said.
The prime minister also stressed that Asif Zardari would be kept in prison without a TV or AC. “Return the money and we will take you out of prison,” he said.
The prime asserted that Pakistan was left behind because of corruption. “Pakistan has $200 billion copper deposits, mammoth reserves of coal, but corruption has held us back,” he said.
Outlining his vision for Pakistan, Imran Khan said the country’s founding fathers envisaged it to be a welfare state on the mode of State of Madina, where rulers were accountable, and people shared their wealth through Zakat. “The State of Madina was formed on modern principles. The State of Madina was the world’s first welfare state,” he said.
He said the government would reform all the loss-making entities it had inherited including the PIA, Pakistan Railways, power and gas sectors. “There is a bit difficult time of four to six months or a year. We will get Pakistan out of it and make its self-dependent,” the prime minister added.
Reiterating his government’s stance of documentation of the national economy, he warned the traders that they would have to pay taxes to make the country pay back the hefty loans which had swelled from Rs6,000 billion to Rs30,000 billion during the last 10 years.
He said the entire world now agrees with his decades-old stance that the solution in Afghanistan has to be non-military.
“I can take pride in the fact that I have been saying this from day one that there is no military solution to Afghanistan,” Imran Khan told the gathering.
“I promise that foreign companies will flow into Pakistan. We will attract investment and provide jobs, and will not ignore Pakistan’s potential,” he said.