He was victimised by past gov'ts over anti-graft stand: Premier

RAWALPINDI: Prime Minister Imran Khan along with other standing in the respect of National Anthem during Inauguration of Sir Syed Express in a ceremony at Railway Station. – DM Photo

By Raja Pervaiz

ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan said he had been politically victimised by his opponents but had proved himself Sadiq and Ameen (honest and sagacious) before the Supreme Court.

“I faced all my cases and did not escape to London,” the prime minister said at a ceremony after inaugurating a new train called Sir Syed Express.

In his fiery speech, the prime minister indicated that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had asked some countries for mediation to seek a National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)-like concessional deal for safe exit from the corruption cases he was facing. “I will not give them NRO even if they approach any monarch for it,” Mr Khan added.

He said when he had raised the issue of corruption of former rulers that had been exposed in Panama Paper leaks, they (the then government) had politically victimised him and filed two references in the Supreme Court, 32 FIRs and six cases in the Election Commission of Pakistan against him. “But I proved myself Sadiq and Ameen before the Supreme Court,” he added.

Imran feels certain that if Sharifs, Zardari bring half of their looted wealth to country from abroad, rupee’s value will rise

“The cases they [former rulers] are presently facing were made before I came to power, but they made cases against me because I wanted to make them accountable for their deeds,” he said.

The prime minister said that the previous governments of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and Pakistan Peoples Party had increased the volume of foreign debt from Rs6,000 billion to Rs30,000bn in 10 years.

“Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif blames me for Pakistani rupee’s devaluation,” the PM said. “But if Shahbaz Sharif and Asif Zardari bring back to the country even half of their looted wealth [from abroad], the rupee will appreciate a lot against the dollar.”

He said those who had been convicted in mega corruption cases and involved in money laundering would not be provided luxuries in jails and would be treated as common criminals.

Talking indirectly about jailed PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, he said, “These convicts have big LED TVs and air conditioners in their rooms in jail.”

Prime Minister Khan said the government was committed to improving lifestyle of poor and downtrodden people and therefore had allocated Rs200bn for their welfare in the budget 2019-20.

Talking about the country’s railway system, he said losses of the Pakistan Railways had dropped by Rs4bn during the last 10 months. “Despite devaluation of the rupee and increase in oil prices, the railway has reduced its losses from Rs36bn to Rs32bn in 10 months,” he added.

Earlier, the prime minister inaugurated Sir Syed Express, a non-stop train from Rawalpindi to Karachi. The train aims at facilitating passengers from Khyber Pukhtunkhwa, Gilgit Baltistan and Azad Kashmir who travel to Karachi and other southern cities of the country.

The new train offers various facilities including in-house television, wi-fi, cabin service, on-wheel restaurant, bedding, sound system and accessories kit. After completion of the ML-1 track, the travel time of the train will reduce to 10 hours.

Highest-ever power supply

Earlier in his tweet, Prime Minister Khan congratulated the power ministry for reaching the highest ever power supply mark of 22,550MW in the country. “I want to congratulate the power ministry as on 2nd July we reached the highest ever power supply at 22,550 MW in national grid with the system running smoothly across the country; almost 3000MW more than the max supply last summer,” he tweeted.

He also appreciated the performance of the power ministry for generating additional revenue of Rs106bn in eight months (Oct 2018 – May 2019) compared to same period last year. “75 percent of this revenue increase is the result of the anti theft drive of PTI government,” the PM tweeted.

Lauding performance of the energy sector for overcoming gas theft, the prime minister further said: “Our government is cracking down on gas theft. Since mid April, the campaign against gas theft has traced and disconnected over 18,000 illegal connections, with a monetary value of over Rs 2.3 billion.”