Azadi March launched to save corruption, says PM


–‘I cannot even guarantee my life by tomorrow, so how can I give a guarantee for someone else’s life?’ Imran says on Nawaz’s health, 

–Says won’t strike deal with ‘corrupt politicians’ who looted country’s wealth 

–PM breaks ground for Guru Nanak University, underscores importance of education 

LAHORE: As the opposition parties led by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam step up the anti-government march, Prime Minister Imran Khan on Monday said the government would not grant anyone an NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance] despite all the attempts made to pressurise the government into striking a deal.

The prime minister made these remarks in a ground-breaking ceremony an international level university in Nankana Sahib on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary of Baba Guru Nanak.

He said Azadi March has no genuine objective but to cover the wrongdoings of bigwigs who did nothing but robbed the country and then ‘signed a charter of democracy’ to save their skins.

“Mark my words, whatever united effort they make through the March, I will not give them NRO (deal) till my last breath,” the prime minister said.

The prime minister said it was like his prediction come true when he stated on the assumption of his office that “all corrupt people in the country would ultimately get united on a single platform against him”.

“The march is taking place, not because the government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is failing, but in fact, it is succeeding,” he claimed, commenting on the call of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam for a countrywide protest, demanding the resignation of the government.

“Such is the weak grounds for the demand of resignation as the government, on the other hand, is making strides on the economic front, even endorsed by Asian Development Bank and International Monetary Fund,” he further claimed.

The prime minister mentioned that as per the recent World Bank report, Pakistan attained the top position in sub-continent and sixth in the world in Ease of Doing Business.

Comparing statistics with the first year of Pakistan Muslim League and Pakistan People’s Party tenures, he said the PTI government recorded inflation at the lowest ebb.

Imran Khan regretted that the country’s “debt touched Rs 30,000 billion from Rs 6,000 billion due to money laundering by public office-holders through Iqama (resident permit) of foreign countries”.

“Now as the noose tightens around their neck, they have started using the tactics of blackmail and pressure,” he said.

The prime minister expressed confidence that the country would make headway as the PTI government had put it on right track and also mentioned expansion in tax net after traders agreed to pay fixed-rate tax.

In a comment on the health of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif who battles for life at the Services Hospital in Lahore, the prime minister said the federal and provincial governments were providing him the best possible medical care, including advice of consultants from Karachi and Shaukat Khanum Hospital.

“We can try our best, the rest is with Allah Almighty,” he said, in response to criticism by certain political quarters on Nawaz Sharif’s deteriorating health. “I cannot even guarantee my own life, how can I give assurance about the life of any other person,” he said in reference to a comment by the Islamabad High Court.

On Saturday, the high court had stated that if the government could guarantee nothing would happen to Nawaz then it would postpone his bail plea till Tuesday.

Imran Khan, however, said, abolishing the socio-economic class system in the country was one of the pillars of the State of Madinah which ensured that elite offenders met the same fate as the poor one.

“All are equal before the law and we want the privileged class in the country to also be answerable before the same law,” he said.

Talking about the university, he said history showed that no country or society could progress without giving priority to education. “We used to be ahead of other nations in education, but it is unfortunate that previous governments did not give due priority to education and left us behind,” he added.

The prime minister said that besides the Sikh community from across the world, the local population would also benefit from the Guru Nanak University, which would offer education in various disciplines, including Information Technology, Science and Technology, and other modern subjects.

He directed the chief minister to utilise all the Auqaf lands at various shrines, like Baba Farid Shakar Ganj in Pakpattan, for the construction of universities, educational institutes and hospitals for the benefit of locals.

The prime minister said all the Sufi saints had a single mission of serving humanity, and that was why people still loved them and visited their shrines.

“Allah Almighty bestows those with honor, who serve human beings. People do not remember the rich but those who serve humanity”, he remarked and cited the example of Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).

Despite criticism from opponents that why the government was opening Kartarpur Corridor when India was unleashing atrocities on innocent people in Occupied Kashmir, the prime minister said, Pakistan had to give way to them since it was the most sacred place for the Sikh community.

He claimed Saudi Arabia never stopped anyone from visiting Muslim holy sites on the basis of political differences.

The PM said the government had decided to bring madrassas into the mainstream education system through uniformity in education and eliminating different education systems.

He said that these seminaries had a “very important role” in the history of the subcontinent, adding, that in early 19th century Sikh, Hindu, Muslims and other elite used to get education from two big madrassas of Delhi despite the presence of British schools.

The PM said as the country could not achieve progress without focusing on the knowledge economy, the present government would do all to provide modern education to youth by establishing educational institutes.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood and Special Assistant to PM for Information and Broadcasting Dr. Firdous Ashiq Awan were also present on the occasion.