Long march will not be allowed to enter Islamabad: PM

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Rules out snap polls; Calls Imran ‘certified thief’; Credits ‘joint efforts’ for Pakistan’s removal from FATF’s grey list

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Saturday, terming former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan a ‘certified thief’ said that long march will not be allowed to enter in Islamabad.

He expressed the views while addressing a news conference in Lahore alongside Law Minister Azam Nazeer Tarar and adviser AttaullahTarar.

Terming the appointment of new army chief a routine process, Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif said the government will appoint the new army chief as per the Constitutional procedure.

The prime minister also ruled out option of holding early elections and said that the general elections were still 11 months away.

He said that Pakistan has come out of the FATF gray list. “I congratulate the entire nation from the bottom of my heart, adding that it was made possible by collective efforts and vision.” “Pakistan has made unprecedented sacrifices in the war against terrorism and it is the success of all individuals, institutions and authorities who worked day and night.”

The Prime Minister said that the chairman who used foul language and levelled false allegations against his political opponents, now stood as the certified embodiment of falsehood, dishonesty and deceitfulness.

Shehbaz Sharif said that the decision of the ECP over Toshakhana was not a matter of rejoice, but a matter of retrospection as the person who was continuously indulged in mud-sling ing had been proved as a certified thief, liar and dishonest. Imran Niazi had been found guilty of corrupt practices by the ECP, he said.

PM Shehbaz went on to say that Imran Niazi had illegally sold out the precious gifts given by the friendly countries which brought bad name to the country. He said with the ECP’s decision, his stance had once again vindicated that the false allegations and political witch-hunting against them, during Imran Niazi’s tenure, was a result of NAB-Niazi connivance.

Commenting on Imran’s disqualification, PM Shehbaz said that his predecessor had been proven to be a “certified liar and a thief”. He alleged that Imran came into power after the “worst rigging”, adding that the PTI chief auctioned off state gifts after claiming the proceeds would go to the treasury.

“The nation would have saluted you if you had deposited money from selling state gifts in the treasury. I would’ve too despite being your political opponent,” he said, adding that Imran had disrespected Pakistan.

Comparing himself to Imran, PM Shehbaz said that he had once received a letter from the Cabinet Division about being able to buy a state gift after paying a certain amount.

“I answered back to the letter saying, ‘No, thank you’ and deposited [the gift] in the Toshakhana.”

He said state gifts were now being displayed at the Prime Minister House to dispel the impression that they go missing. “Now, I have them [displayed] in PM House so the people know who sold the gifts and pocketed the money.”

PM Shehbaz said that disrespecting the country in this manner was a “very serious thing”. There is nothing worse than a prime minister selling state gifts without having them valued and pocketing the cash, he said.

He reiterated that the person accusing others of being a thief had been proven a “certified thief”.

The prime minister alleged that Imran’s Banigala residence was constructed in violation of rules and regulations, which the PTI chief later got regularised. “But he then went to Raiwind to demolish my mother’s home. This is the [extent] of his revenge.”

The premier also took exception to PTI leaders’ assertion that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif had “written” the electoral watchdog’s verdict against Imran. By that argument, did Imran pen the decision which led to Nawaz Sharif’s disqualification, he questioned.

After our exit from the grey list, our many problems will end, he said.

“This is not my success but Pakistan’s collective success,” he reiterated.

He also specifically congratulated Foreign Minister Bilawal BhuttoZardari, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Hina Rabbani Khar and the Foreign Office officials who worked tirelessly in this regard.

“Similarly, I thank our allied parties that supported me and extended their cooperation.”

PM Shehbaz also had a few words of gratitude for Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying that his understanding and the commitment of his sub-divisions played a massive role in achieving this success.

The premier claimed that during the PTI government’s tenure, bills relating to the FATF were presented in parliament, which the then-opposition “fully supported”.

“Despite the pride of the government party and its leader, because it was a national matter […] we put all these things to one side and fully supported the legislation. “We were mocked saying we were seeking a NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) […] but we bore it and did not compromise on Pakistan’s interest.”

 

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