Imran Khan Chairman Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI)

Jahangir’s World Times: Was it due to the media-hype that PTI’s 30th October Lahore Rally became a catalyst for the popularity of PTI, but after that your popularity graph started to drop down?

Imran Khan: No! First of all, I want to make it absolutely clear that it was not a media-hype because media cannot force more than 250,000 people, especially families, to come out and participate in such a vibrant political activity. Secondly, I ask those who claim that our popularity is decreasing that what they call a decline? In all the opinion polls and surveys, PTI is still at the top. In fact, the media is facing huge pressure from both the federal government and the provincial government of Punjab. They use the advertisement budgets as a tool to pressurise and intimidate the media and this is how they try to create a perception that popularity of PTI is falling. But they cannot defame PTI because they are exposed and people of Pakistan are not ready to trust them anymore. If they want to defeat PTI, they will have to deliver which they cannot.

JWT: Your critics blame that you always criticise the personalities of your opponents instead of their policies, what would you say about it?

IK: It is a completely wrong perception. In fact, in a democratic system, the whole politics is based on criticism. Actually, people expect that I will tell them the truth or both angles of the picture. So, in doing this, criticism also comes. But it does not mean that I have problem with any particular person or I want to get a political leverage. I always spoke against their wrong policies and endeavours.

Transparency International report says that nearly 8500 billion rupees have been eaten up by the corruption of the present regime during the last four years.
I always presented a vision and no one can say that I just only criticise some particular persons to malign them politically. For instance, I always talk about corruption, why? Because it’s the biggest and the most burning issue of Pakistan. A Transparency International report says that nearly 8500 billion rupees have been eaten up by the corruption of the present regime during the past four years. That is why no one is ready to trust us. Investment is not coming into Pakistan, funds are not being spent on the development of human resource and inflation is also on the rise. These all perils are the outcome of this unprecedented corruption. If the real faces of these corrupt people are not shown to the public, how they will come to know what is the root cause of our downfall.

JWT: Presently, indirect taxation system is in practice across Pakistan which also ensues inflation, what solution do you give to combat this problem?

IK: In my view, its only solution is direct taxation. Now, here rises the big question that why people do not pay taxes. Clearly, it is because the rulers neither pay the taxes themselves nor they spend the money collected through taxes on the public welfare projects. Moreover, instead of paying their due taxes, they have developed many ways of tax evasion. But we have developed a comprehensive plan for tax collection through which we will collect the taxes. We will not increase the taxes rather we will nab the tax evaders and put them into jails. Furthermore, we will get the assets of public office-holders declared, and in this way nobody will escape from paying the tax.

JWT: Some people think that you are using your cricket fame and philanthropic services like Shukat Khanum Hospital for the political gains especially to attract the youth of Pakistan?
IK: It is totally a wrong and unwarranted perception. Approximately, 20 years have passed when I bade farewell to the cricket arena and nearly 16 years ago, I established the cancer hospital. So, it is absolutely wrong to say that I use my social services or the charm as a successful cricketer to attract youth. They want change and they have welcomed the vision the PTI has given to them. That’s why, today, the people of Pakistan, especially the youth, are with us and support our political ideology.

JWT: There are several pressure groups in Pakistan and ‘Bureaucracy’ is one of them. It has created a CSP-culture but why you have never touched this issue till now.

IK: I am well aware that in bureaucracy, police, judiciary and working of government systems, reforms are much needed and desired. For this, we will ways of tax-theft. But we have developed a comprehensive plan for tax collection through which we will collect the taxes and will increase the tax revenue; and whosoever found in tax-theft would be prosecuted. In addition, we will make our candidates declare their assets.

According to the Transparency International, during the last four years of this government, the nation has been robbed of rupees 8500 billion. And this robbery has been carried out by none other than her very own custodians’ the government.
JWT: It is said that you are trying to cash your cricket-fame and social services like Shukat Khanum Hospital for the political gains especially to attract the youth of Pakistan?

IK: Wrong! I left the arenas of cricket some 20 years from now; I made the hospital about 16 years ago. Those who were the teenagers then, are now in their 30s. And a large chunk of our voters comprises of those who are in their 20s or so. How do they say then that the youth is being attracted by me through exposing them to the glow of the services I made in the sport and social work?

Yes, today youth and public are with us and they have joined us because they agree to our political ideology.

JWT: We have several pressure groups in Pakistan and ‘Bureaucracy’ is also one of the pressure groups who produced a CSP-Culture. You never spoke on this issue, why?

IK: I know that the reforms are needed to be introduced in the bureaucracy, police, judiciary, legislation and executive machinery.
We have to develop a sound system of local governments too.

And for introducing such public-benefitting reforms, an honest leadership is required.

In a country where a person like Zardari is reigning over as president, how can one expect that even a ‘Patwari’ will perform his duties honestly?

JWT: You say that even the ‘Army Chief’ will work under you if you become the prime minister. How are you so sure of the rhetoric to become a reality that you shall make him work under you when you know that the army has sent a seasoned prime minister like Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to the gallows? Don’t you fear that you too might face the same fate?

IK: Let us talk as to why Bhutto could not stop martial law. The reason is very simple to understand. He had lost his credibility among the masses. In the beginning he had moral courage but later on he lost.

JWT: You speak of the uniform education system for all in the country. It sounds great. How would you materialise your dream in a country where, in terms of quality, there is a hell of gap between the public sector educational institutes and the private sector institutes?

IK: When a government comes into power with a heavy mandate, it can implement its policies within 90 days. InshaAllah we will launch the uniform education system on the day one of our government.

Unfortunately, the government herself is involved in the abduction of the Baloch. In such a bleak scenario, the question as to how this issue could be resolved shall remain unanswered.
To me, ‘education emergency’ in Pakistan is the need of the hour.  Now as far as the gap between the public and private education systems is concerned, my point in this regard is, it can be bridged only by spending appropriate amount of money on the public sector institutes. At the moment, we are spending on such schools only in paper, and not in reality.

Shehzad Roy has already proved my hypothesis by spending the due amount in the public sector and getting better results in return.

Actually, thirty years back, these government schools were producing the best intellectuals across the country but unfortunately now this system is no more productive. That is why people prefer to send their kids in private schools.

JWT: You have not any representation in the Senate. How can you turn your dream of introducing a uniform education system in Pakistan into reality?

IK: Well, Senate cannot go against the mandate of the people. If it goes, it will destroy itself; because an indirectly elected body cannot stand before a directly elected body. Moreover, we still have such rules and regulations through which we can bring revolutionary changes by just implementing them in an appropriate manner.

JWT: Issue of missing persons is very grave in Balochistan. The Supreme Court of Pakistan is still unable to lay down any mechanism for the solution of this issue. Why don’t you take this matter to the Supreme Court?

IK: We all must be aware that the Supreme Court or the CJP alone cannot solve this issue unless government takes interest and serious steps towards resolving this problem. In fact, government itself is involved in the abduction of people. In such a situation how this issue will be resolved? Encouraging thing is that the Supreme Court is doing a tremendous job in this regard. Thank you.

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