Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman and Pakistan’s Prime Minister-in-waiting, Imran Khan, on Thursday laid the roadmap for his country’s development and governance while spelling out his priorities in foreign policy in his maiden speech after the elections in Pakistan.
While the final results are yet to be announced by the Pakistan’s Election Commission, Khan with 120 seats so far is a clear winner sweeping in five constituencies. He won from NA-131 (Lahore), NA-53 (Islamabad), Karachi (NA-243), Mianwali (NA-95) and Bannu (NA-35) seats respectively.
According to The Dawn, citing unofficial results, the PTI is leading at 120 seats, while PML-N (61 seats) and PPP (40 seats) are closing in at the second and third positions respectively.
In his first speech after the elections, Khan said he would like to have good relations with India and work to resolve all outstanding issues through dialogue. Mentioning Kashmir as the core issue of dispute between the two nations, Khan said that it was time the two countries sat across the table and discussed the issues of concern.
“We should sit across and resolve the issues instead of we blaming India for problems in Balochistan and they blaming us for problems in Kashmir. I can say that if you (India) will take one step forward, we will take two steps forward. The relationship between the two countries has been one-sided so far and Pakistan has been blamed for all sorts of terrorism in the world. We want friendship with India and want to resolve all issues through dialogue,” asserted Khan.
He said though the Indian media had portrayed him as a villain of Bollywood films, he was one person who has several friends in India due to his association with cricket. “The Indian media has portrayed me as a Bollywood villain. I am one Pakistani who knows so many Indians due to cricket. I want good relations with India and I would like to improve our trade ties with them in order to boost relations,” he said.
Khan also mentioned improving ties with China, Afghanistan, United States and Saudi Arabia as priority areas while adding that Pakistan would like to be part of conciliation process in the Middle East.
On the domestic front, Khan spread the roadmap for governance. While promising to work for the poor, minority, farmers, youth and the deprived, Khan said his priority will be to provide better life to people and have policies for human development. His focus will be to bring in wide ranging reforms and welfare policies for the people.
“Nearly 2.5 crore children are out of schools. Women die of pregnancy deliveries due to lack of medical facilities. We do not have clean drinking water. There are so many problems. We will work for the upliftment and betterment of the poor and the underprivileged. We have to fight poverty which is a big challenge. China is the biggest example in front of us which has lifted 70 crore people out of poverty in the last 30 years,” Khan said.
Promising a new way of governance, Khan announced that austerity measures will be in place and he will not live in the palatial Prime Minister’s house. “I am ashamed to live in such a palatial house when so many people in my country are poor and hungry. I pledge to have a simple life. I will give a new form of governance. We have seen ruling elite misuse tax payers’ money. But from now Pakistan will be a nation that makes policies for its poor instead of elite. Neither me nor my ministers will have a lavish life. We will see what can be done with these lavish government buildings.if they can be converted into institutions etc,” he said.
The PTI chief added that his government was willing to improve good governance where state institutions would be strengthened. “The National Accountability Bureau, anti corruption bodies will be strengthened. There will be no political victimisation and rule of law will prevail. There will be self accountability and law will be equal for all. We will create right atmosphere for investment and remove corruption so that we can have jobs for our youth,” Khan said.
Expressing optimism of fulfilling the dream of a ‘Naya’ (new) Pakistan, Khan said, “I thank God that after 22 years of struggle, my prayers have been answered. I have got the chance to fulfill my dream and serve the nation.”
Explaining his reason to enter politics, Khan recalled that while growing up in Pakistan, the nation was in great heights and then all of a sudden, corruption and anti-social elements put the country in a precarious position. He expressed hope to implement all the promises made in the PTI manifesto.
Underlining the election as “historic”, Khan dismissed allegations of rigging and said he was open to scrutiny. “We are witnessing the strengthening of democracy in Pakistan. The election process was completed successfully despite many terror attacks. I thank our security forces. Those accusing the elections to be rigged can get it investigated. I am ready for it,” he added.