How Imran Khan won Washington’s heart: If you missed his address, here is all you need to know
“People ask where ‘Naya Pakistan’ is, it is being created in front of your eyes”
While addressing a large audience at a community event in Capital One Arena, Washington on Sunday, Prime Minister Imran Khan said that a ‘Naya Pakistan’ was in the making in front of the people’s eyes.
Prior to the address, Dr. Abdullah Riar, the organizer of the event, stated that they were expecting a crowd of 15,000 and 20,000 to attend the event.
During the event, PM Imran Khan was accompanied by Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Adviser on Finance Dr. Abdul Hafeez Shaikh, Adviser on Commerce Abdul Razak Dawood, and Minister of State for Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari.
While talking to the crowd, Imran Khan discussed that the problem in Pakistan was when political leaders were confronted, they say that political retaliation is being taken and when decisions are made against them, they say ‘kyun nikala’.
“Today, what you see happening in Pakistan is what Naya Pakistan was about: these people had never been asked for answers before” – PM stated.
Key Points of Khan’s Address:
Imran Khan said that there were two reasons due to which democracy succeeded as a system of governance and monarchy was left behind. These were a system of merit and accountability. Quoting an example from sports, he said that the Australian cricket team had dominated sports due to their system that brings up talents and relies heavily on merit.
‘’I have played cricket all around the world. I have seen the most cricketing talent in Pakistan. But [because] there is no system of merit, we can’t bring that talent up. This is why we are not dominating the world [in cricket] — because there is no meritocracy’’
Prime Minister further said that America had prospered due to a system based on meritocracy. Through this system, the good leaders were there to replace the bad ones. He regretted that there was a ‘type of monarchy’ in Pakistan and merit wasn’t given any significance. He said that a society that doesn’t have merit, doesn’t thrive or go forward.
Accountability is important for democracy:
The premier said that the second factor that took democracy forward was leaders being held accountable. He also said that democracy is only successful when the leadership is held accountable. Further on in his address, he said that the cases against political leaders of Pakistan weren’t something new.
“All the cases against them are old. We did not start any case, all we have done is make institutions independent.”
He said that he had seen Pakistan go down before his own eyes, that when he was growing up in the country during the 1960s, Pakistan was the most rapidly developing country in Asia and the subcontinent. Pakistan’s bureaucracy was said to be the top one in Asia and people from other countries used to come and study here.
He further explained that the form of socialism which took place in the 1970s, led to stopping of industrial growth and then after the year 1985, bribery became a part of politics and that’s when real damage took place.
Way Forward: Accountability and Merit
Imran Khan said two things that holding public office holders accountable and merit were going to lift the country.
“They have one purpose, they want to hear three words from me NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance).” – he said while referring to the political leaders.
As per him, powerful individuals in Pakistan were being held accountable, which involved seizing their ‘Benami properties’.
“A system of merit will come when family-based politics end. Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) is the first party where no relative or friend of Imran Khan is in any post.” – he said, also adding that new leaders, such as Minister for Communications and Postal Services Murad Saeed and Federal Minister for Economic Affairs Division Hammad Azhar, would transpire from the party.
“Our country will rise before you. You will see we will fix the system and let the lower segment come up.” – PM added.
Pakistan’s ‘corrupt’ history and rising debt:
Imran Khan said that ten years ago, the country’s debt was Rs. 6000 billion.
While referring to Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari, he said that the two had raised it to Rs. 30,000 billion.
“Where did the money go? We need to take [back] this money from them. I want to tell them again that you can do what you want. Everyone comes together to save democracy, to save their money. Come together, if you want to stage a ‘dharna’, I will give you containers. Do what you want, you will have to return the money ’’ – he stated.
Addressing Nawaz Sharif, the previous PM, Imran Khan said that he’d remove his TV and air conditioner from jail.
“I know that Maryam [Nawaz] bibi will make a lot of noise, but Maryam bibi give back the money, then he can go from jail.”
He further said that he had noticed when ex-president Zardari went to jail, he spent all his time in the hospital.
“Asif Zardari, [we] will also keep you in jail, there will no TV nor will there be an air conditioner. It is very easy to be released from jail: return the money, we will release you from jail. Until today, the powerful in Pakistan was never questioned. This is the biggest change and this is why our country will rise.”
Pakistan’s grim education apartheid:
While talking about the educational system, PM Imran said that the current education system made it difficult for the less privileged class to come up.
“There is education apartheid. Here [in America] people are given opportunities.”
Continuing his address, he said that for the first time in Pakistan, they were making an attempt to ‘fix’ the system in government schools in the country and were trying to introduce one main syllabus so people can have the opportunity to rise up.
While discussing more problems that the country was facing, he specifically addressed corruption.
“Our country has been left behind because of one reason: corruption,” said the premier.
He revealed that he had met with companies in the United States, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and China for investment and they all said that they don’t come to Pakistan due to corruption.
“Through a clean government [and] by ending corruption, we will lift this country.” – he assured.
Prime Minister Imran Khan said that the current government’s vision was to follow the pattern or Riyasat-i-Madina and turn into a welfare state. As per him, the principles of Riyasat-i-Madina were just, compassionate and looking after women, children and elderly.
The premier also said that he would present the case of the Pakistani people before President Donald Trump, who he is scheduled to meet on Monday.
“I will not let you be embarrassed in front of Donald Trump.”
He concluded his address by saying that he will never let Pakistan bow down before anyone.
What are your views on this? Share with us in the comments bar below.