Imran says PTI and MQM-P could contest polls as allies


–PM calls MQM’s two members ‘most decent’ in his cabinet of ministers

–Lays foundation stone for Hyderabad University in ceremony held at PM’s House in Islamabad


ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday admitted that he had misconceptions about the leaders of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan (MQM-P), however now it was quite possible that the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) and MQM may contest the next general election as allies.

The premier while addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of Hyderabad University, said, “When our government was formed, these two ministers joined our cabinet. We were afraid of what might happen. But today I will say this: there aren’t any cabinet members more refined than these two,” Imran said.

The PM said that the PTI and MQM-P have similar ideologies. “I always used to think that MQM’s viewpoint — the things that they spoke of — was closely aligned with that of PTI,” he said. “Our only problem was that of militancy which we both thought was wrong.”

His remarks came after he paid a special tribute to Information Technology and Telecommunication Minister Dr Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui and Minister for Law and Justice Barrister Dr Mohammad Farogh Naseem — both members of MQM-P as well as his cabinet.

Laying emphasis on the importance of higher education and the asset that the nation has by way of its youth, the prime minister said: “Where we stand now, we should understand that of this 210-million-strong country, 60 per cent of the people are below the age of 30.

“If we educate the youth they will be the ones to take the nation forward. And it is this same section of the society that will bring us down if left uneducated.”

“When you will not teach the youth skills and equip them, when they won’t have an education and will remain unemployed, they will become a problem for the country,” the prime minister stressed.

The prime minister said that justice and education will be the two pillars on which the foundation of Naya (new) Pakistan will stand.

He expressed disbelief over some quarters opposing the building of universities. “I have never been able to understand the theory behind such thinking,” he said in exasperation. “Who can oppose the creation of a university? What kind of a mind can rationalise that a university should not be created? It is beyond me,” he said.

The prime minister announced that Hyderabad University will be a technical university which will enjoy the expertise offered by Namal University in Bahawalpur. He promised that the federal government will extend its full support to the institute.

He criticised a “strange phenomenon” that had taken root in Musharraf’s era, namely the concept of “enlightened moderation which doesn’t even hold any purpose”. He said that ever since this idea had taken hold in the society, there was an uptake in the “emphasis on the English language which had harmed the psyche of the youth and driven those who are not familiar with the language to feel an inferiority complex”.

“Take the example of the parliament,” the premier said. “Bilawal Bhutto is found addressing it in English. You do nothing but denigrate your own fellow citizens this way. Ninety per cent of Pakistanis do not know the English language and we know this fact. Then how do we continue to speak in English on public forums?”

He strongly urged the audience to discourage this “wrong tradition”.