Daily Mail’s apology vindicates Pakistan, thwarts anti-state conspiracy: PM

ISLAMABAD (APP): Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Monday said the unconditional apology by the British publication Daily Mail was a vindication of the 220 million Pakistanis, which also thwarted an anti-state conspiracy hatched by Imran Khan and his cronies.
“Finally, after three years, they (Daily Mail) tendered an apology, not to me but all of you. It was an apology to 220 million Pakistanis, and to millions of those mothers and children who were benefiting from the DIFD projects to support their food and health,” the prime minister said addressing a press conference here along with his cabinet members.
Apprising the media of the allegations levelled by the previous government through the Daily Mail article, he said the onslaught was only meant to defame him, Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz. “He (Imran Khan) was so callous to never think that it will not only malign Nawaz Sharif or Shehbaz Sharif rather it will hurt Pakistan’s reputation,” he remarked. The newspaper also published its apology in Sunday’s print edition, he added.
He told the media that the DFID project’s amount of 600 million pounds was spent transparently and the allegations were also contradicted by the Department for International Development (DFID) itself.
“Consequently, the country was mocked and a message was conveyed that Pakistan should not be given any aid or grant,” he added. PM Shehbaz said despite the passage of three years, Shahzad Akbar had failed to produce documents to substantiate his allegations, which also led to his (Shehbaz Sharif) vindication by the NCA (National Crime Agency).
The prime minister said by selling a specially-designed watch inscribed with the Holy Kaaba’s model, gifted by Saudi Crown Prince, Imran Khan had committed the “cheapest act”. He said investigations should be held as to how the former prime minister had destroyed the national economy and foreign relations and strained ties with brotherly countries. Shehbaz Sharif also mentioned an article published by the Financial Times accusing Imran Khan of spending donations collected for the Shaukat Khanum Hospital on his politics.
He said during his government, Imran Khan got arrested even female politicians like Maryam Nawaz and Faryal Talpur but contrarily, gave an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to his own sister through the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) though she had committed misdeclaration.
The prime minister told the media that the incumbent government inherited a shaken economy and that they had to beseech the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which was not ready to trust Pakistan after the previous regime had deviated from the commitments. He said by passing the burden of the oil price surge to the masses, the incumbent government sacrificed its politics in the state’s interest as the previous regime had laid a trap for their government by not raising the prices.
Prime Minister Shehbaz said the government had disbursed Rs 70 billion among the flood-hit families through BISP (Benazir Income Support Programme) and spent billions of others through the NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) to supply food packages, tents, and mosquito nets. Besides, Rs 400 million were also given in form of compensation for the life losses, he added.
“With the onset of the winter season, a huge challenge is still ahead. Don’t know where the money will come from (to support the reconstruction),” he added. He said instead of spreading a rhetoric of Pakistan becoming another Sri Lanka, Imran Khan should give an account for the sugar mill and wheat scandals. To a question, the prime minister said Finance Minister Ishaq Dar met President Arif Alvi with his permission.
“We will move 100 steps forward for the country’s stability. But it takes two to tango. The nations face such a situation when we have to sacrifice. But what kind of talks can be held with an egoistic and liar person who even defames the army… I want to tell the people that this person is a fraud having nothing to do with the nation’s future,” he said and called for setting aside the differences for the country’s progress.
He said the previous government ridiculed his idea of the Charter of Economy and misconstrued it as a desire to seek an NRO.
To another question, the prime minister said Imran Khan also showed unthankfulness to his benefactor ex-army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa. He said the new army chief was a professional soldier with a shining career and hoped that he would strengthen the institution and serve the country.
Asked about the firing incident by Afghan border forces, he said he would summon a meeting to review the situation. The killing of the innocent people of Pakistan had been condemned and the government also demanded of the Afghan government to prevent the recurrence of such incidents which could hurt the bilateral ties, he added.
To another query, PM Shehbaz said former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, who had millions of followers in Pakistan, would be back to the country very soon.
About the oil prices, he said the government discussed the matter fortnightly and made its level best not to further burden the people. It would surely pass on the relief as it found some cushion, he added.