Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said him shaking hands with Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif would destigmatise corruption as he reiterated his resolve to rid the country of the menace, a private TV channel reported. “People ask me why I don’t shake hands with [Shahbaz] as he is the opposition leader,” the prime minister said, as he addressed a ceremony at the Academy of Letters after inaugurating the “Hall of Fame”. “Corruption cases worth billions of rupees are filed against him. If I shake hands with him on top of that, then I will give the message that this [corruption] isn’t a bad thing,” he said. The prime minister, giving the example of England, said that even if a politician is suspected of siphoning public money, neither do anchors call them on TV, and nor do they attend parliamentary sessions till they clear their name. “Over there, it is unfathomable that a person guilty of corruption worth billions of rupees would go to the parliament and deliver a two-hour-long speech,” he said. Prime Minister Imran Khan said in the age of social media with unrestricted content available, huge responsibility lied on intellectuals to guide the nation on preserving moral and ethical values. “Social media is a reality and we cannot put restrictions on it. However, the scholars and intellectuals can inspire the people to distinguish between right and wrong,” he said. The prime minister said through the power of words and pens, the intellectuals could help protect the ideology of a nation. He regretted that the moral and ethical values were gradually eroding, thus giving space for corruption. Expressing concern over the rising cases of sex crimes in the country, he said, access to immoral content on social media regardless of age restriction was a big factor. “In today’s Pakistan, the need for an effective input and involvement of our intellectuals has increased manifold,” he said. He mentioned that the Indian society faced the destruction of the family system as their films promoted objectionable content, and resultantly, New Delhi was titled the ‘rape capital’. “A nation which fails to distinguish between the right and the wrong loses its character. Ethics and morals are the basic pillars of a strong society,” he said. Imran Khan urged the scholars to highlight the concept of Muslim societies of the history, where Islam was spread through intellectual power rather than wars. The prime minister said the main objective of establishing the Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority by him was to develop a deeper understanding of the Sunnah besides preservation of the Islamic identity, values, and culture in the face of diverse social and digital media influences. Stressing the need for an “intellectual revolution” in the country, he said, the government would fully honour the scholars and promote them. In an interaction with the envoys of Muslim countries on the concept and vision underlining the establishment of the Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority, the PM stressed that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) was a blessing for all humanity. He underscored the appeal of Islam’s universal message and the bounties of following the fundamental precepts of the Riasat-e-Madina, in particular, the principles of justice, rule of law, welfare of the people and an unswerving focus on the acquisition of knowledge. The prime minister elucidated that the prime objective of establishing the Rehmatul-lil-Alameen Authority was to develop a deeper understanding of the Sunnah through collaborative research and to provide essential tools to the youth to preserve their Islamic identity, values and culture in the face of diverse social and digital media influences. Separately, Prime Minister Imran Khan said the government was extending all possible support to foreign investors through the policy of ‘ease of doing business’. The prime minister expressed these views in a meeting with his Finance Adviser Shaukat Fayaz Tarin and Commerce Adviser Razak Dawood. The prime minister emphasized on improving trade with regional countries, which he said, would help increase exports. Shaukat Tarin briefed the prime minister on the overall economic situation. Razak Dawood apprised the prime minister about his recent visit to Turkmenistan for improving connectivity in the region for maximum economic gains. He also informed about his upcoming visit to Iran and its importance in improving prospects of regional connectivity and bilateral trade between the two countries.