Return the ‘looted money’ and go abroad: PM tells Nawaz, Zardari

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the previous rulers will have to return the looted money if they wanted to get rid of jail or go abroad.

“This is tabdeeli (change). In Pakistan, law never accounted the influential ones. This is tabdeeli. This will help the nation rise and make Pakistan a great country,” he told an enthusiastic crowd of Pakistan-Americans at the packed Capital One Arena. He said the previous rulers will have to return the looted money if they want to get rid of jail or go abroad. He particularly referred to jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari and said they have a way out which is simply to return the looted public money.

Imran Khan said the opposition leaders facing corruption cases want an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance), but that he will not rest until his government recovers the looted national wealth. He also announced to withdraw the A-class jail facilities from Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari and jail them along with the ordinary prisoners.

The prime minister said that the problem in Pakistan is that when political leaders are asked for answers, they say that political revenge is being taken, and when courts make decisions they say ‘hmein kyun nikala’. “Today, what you see happening in Pakistan is what Naya Pakistan is about: these people have never been asked for answers before,” he said. “People ask ‘Where is Naya Pakistan?’ – it is being created in front of your eyes,” he added.

The prime minister said that 10 years ago, the country’s debt was Rs 6,000 billion. “After 10 years, these two raised it to Rs 30,000 billion,” referring to former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and former president Asif Ali Zardari. “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 maintained.

Imran Khan announces to take back TV, AC facilities from jailed leaders

While referring to Nawaz, Imran Khan said that he will remove the former prime minister’s 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 added.

Imran Khan said that he has noticed that when former president Zardari went to jail, he would spend all of his time in the hospital. “Asif Zardari, [we] will also keep you in jail, there will be no TV nor will there be an air conditioner,” he said. “It is very easy to be released from jail: return the money, we will release you from jail,” he added.

The prime minister said the PTI government was committed to introducing far-reaching reforms to transform Pakistan into a vibrant democratic country where merit will be respected with economic opportunities for all. “We will change the system so that it runs on merit, and where everyone gets an opportunity to prosper,” he said. “We will pull our country out of its current difficulties,” he said, referring to economic challenges his government had inherited.

The prime minister particularly talked about streamlining the education system. He said the government is planning to introduce modern subjects like science in religious seminaries so that the poor may also have a better economic opportunity.

On economic reforms, he underscored the need for improving Pakistan’s tax to GDP (gross domestic product) ratio and facilitating investment. Pakistan, he said, has been blessed with massive natural wealth and human talent, but politics of inheritance and corruption had kept the country from making use of the same. “There is a difference between a democracy and a kingdom. Democracy honours merit but we have a system that serves the elite,” he added.

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 it self-dependent,” the prime minister added.

Reiterating his government’s stance of documentation of the national economy, he warned the traders that they will have to pay taxes to make the country pay back the hefty loans which had swelled from Rs 6,000 billion to Rs 30,000 billion during the last 10 years.

The prime minister also announced to reform the Pakistani cricket team and assured the community that in the next world cup, they will see an efficient and capable team in the field.

Imran Khan assured the nation that he will put their case before President Trump and will neither embarrass them nor let them down before any one.


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