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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan, while calling corruption a reason to destroy a country, said the factor behind the countries’ poverty was not the lack of resources but the corruption of their leadership.

“Corruption is something which destroys a country. The poor countries are poor not because of they lack resources but because their leadership is corrupt,” the prime minister said in an interview with Al Jazeera on Friday.

The developing world is poor because the ruling elite siphoned off money and laundered it into off shore accounts.

He said the rule of law and public welfare were the two guiding principles of the Madina State. “A society is civilized only when it has the rule of law. Without rule of law, there is no future. When ministers start stealing, you cannot make progress,” he remarked.

Coming to his political struggle, the prime minister said his fight was against the corrupt ruling elite that was destroying the country.

Tourism: PM says country can earn billions

He told the interviewer that there were two entrenched family parties, so fighting them was like fighting a mafia. He said both the parties had money and state resources which also used money and media against him.

Asked about his cricketing career, the prime minister said cricket was in his family and his cousins and uncles were already into it. He said the sports taught ability to cope with bad times and defeat and dynamics of picking up you again. He said he gave some additional years to cricket just to remain in limelight and build the cancer hospital. Just for the very cause, he changed himself from an introvert and shy person to the biggest fundraiser.

He said Shaukat Khanum Hospital was the first such private facility in the world treating 75% patents free of charge. He said he would never have been able to build the hospital if he had not learned struggle from cricket.

The prime minister said he wanted to build Pakistan on the model of Madina state. He said earlier Pakistan was being ruled by two corrupt families who came into power just for making money.

Regarding the Afghanistan situation, he said it was insanity what the west had been doing in the country for 20 years. He said no Afghan was involved in 9/11 but the western powers occupied Afghanistan to achieve the objectives which could never be done through military means. Due to the very stance, the prime minister said, he was criticized immensely.

He said he would order a probe if anyone points out the corruption by any of his ministers as the corruption by the ruling elite destroys the country. He said as far as the lower-level corruption by government officials was concerned, the government was introducing automation to do away with it.

To a question, the prime minister said his government had inherited the highest ever debt, fiscal deficit, current account deficit which took time to recover.

He said Pakistan was declared among the best to have effectively navigated through the COVID pandemic by maintaining balance between lives and livelihood.

He said like other developing countries, Pakistan was also faced with the ‘imported inflation’ owing to the price hike of commodities like edible oil and pulses which are imported.

He said in order to do away the disparity in education system the government introduced one core educational curriculum with the consensus and consultation with all stakeholders.

On Islamophobia, he said the Muslim leaders never portrayed real Islam before the west, particularly after 9/11. This made the Muslims in western countries face Islamophobia despite the fact terrorism had no relation with Islam.

He said Imran Khan alone could not make any change rather the whole Muslim world must take a joint stance at the forums like the United Nations to make some difference.

The prime minister advised the youth to adopt Holy Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) as a role model. They should know how He transformed the characters and made them leaders. “He was Rahamtullil Alamin, a blessing for mankind, not just for the Muslims. Anyone who will follow his model will rise,” the prime minister remarked. To a question about Afghanistan, he said Pakistan was faced with a very difficult situation after the exit of the US and Taliban takeover. He said the world including the US should think rationally for sake of 40 million people or else the situation would lead towards chaos and terrorism as ISIS was already there. In case of any chaos in Afghanistan, Pakistan would be the biggest sufferer as the country had already been hosting over million refugees.

On Kashmir dispute, he said Pakistan had the responsibility to raise the issue at every forum. He said if India made any strike on Pakistan, it would respond exactly the way it had done in 2019. “Only mad people can think of bringing two nuclear powers face to face. Indian people are good but they are being ruled by fanatics,” he remarked.

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