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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Sunday reiterated that he and his government would not bow down before the ‘mafia,’ while taking on the opposition parties, which he said joined hands to hide their corruption.

“I will not surrender in front of them and I will not let them go scot-free for what they have done with this country,” he said at a meeting with digital media representatives.

“All of them have now joined hands to save their corruption. They have been united in desperate struggle for their political survival,” he said.

“No matter what they do —no matter how hard they try— they will never get an NRO, they have to pay for their corruption and everything they did to this country,” he said reiterating his government’s zero tolerance for corruption.

Taking a jibe at Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PM Khan said, “He [Fazl] was never out of power since 1992. But since 2018 general elections, this is the first [National] Assembly that is running without diesel.”

Targeting Nawaz Sharif and other leaders of Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N), the PM said “Pakistan’s prime minister was employed in a Dubai company. Khawaja Asif and Ahsan Iqbal took Iqama (temporary work permit) for money laundering. My life would become much easier and peaceful if I give them NRO. That is what they want from me. But that is not going to happen.”

The PM said, “The revolution we keep talking about is the name of change in status quo that requires continuous struggle. It will not happen overnight —and we are determined to defeat the status quo forces— we are at a decisive juncture, our economy is improving, exports are increasing, construction industry is taking off and industrial sector is being revived. Things are getting fixed—in the right direction.”

On Mach tragedy, the PM said India is backing ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria) to destabilise and weaken Pakistan by fuelling sectarian tension. “We are well aware of the evil designs of the enemy. India will never succeed,” he said adding that his government was actively taking steps to ensure the protection of Hazara community.

The PM said his government has prioritised socio-economic development in Balochistan to facilitate the poverty-ridden masses of the province.

“In the past, the governments did not pay due attention to Balochistan and always preferred to form alliance with Baloch chieftains for petty political gains. These chieftains were greatest hindrance in development in Balochistan at the grass-root level and never allowed the funds to be spent on public welfare,” he said.

“But things are changing and we are here not only to foil India’s conspiracies in Balochistan but also to ensure socio-economic development in Balochistan,” he said.

On the economic situation in the country, the PM said his government is out to reform taxation to improve the economic condition of the country. “Out of 220 million people in Pakistan, only 3,000 pay 70 percent taxes and half of the taxes we collect go in debt settlement of loans taken by previous governments. This has to change and we are changing it by bringing remarkable improvement in tax collection mechanism,” the premier said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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