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Criticism is a must, says PM but urges media to avoid 'spreading disappointment'

Updated 23 Jan, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan during live question and answer session on Sunday. Screengrab/Aaj News
Prime Minister Imran Khan during live question and answer session on Sunday. Screengrab/Aaj News

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that criticism was necessary for a nation but urged the media to avoid "spreading disappointment" among the public and follow "balance" while reporting stories.

"I again request media and media workers that criticism is very necessary for a country... and I have been criticised for the last 50 years, criticism is a good thing. But one thing is propaganda, fake news which is done to create disappointment in the country," he said while answering the questions from the general public live on air during a programme called "Aap Ka Wazir-e-Azam, Aap Kay Saath".

Before answering questions, the premier said that "principally" he should do such a "session" in parliament but the opposition doesn't let him speak and shout when he gives a speech in parliament.

The premier accused some of the media workers of working with a "mafia", who wants to destabilise the country and wants to topple the government, and "spreading disappointment." Quoting the World Bank statistics about Pakistan's growth rate, he asked the media for "reporting" such facts.

PM Imran came to this statement after answering the third question related to inflation and the economy. According to the premier, skyrocketing inflation was the only problem that "kept [him] awake at night".

He urged the media to report World Bank and leading economic magazine reports about Pakistan that showed that Pakistan "well fought" against Covid and the economy was "rising."

The World Bank, in its recent report titled “Global Economic Prospects report”, has projected Pakistan’s GDP growth rate at 4 per cent for 2022-23, benefiting from structural reforms enhancing export competitiveness and improving the financial viability of the power sector.

The premier also responded to the opposition's criticism on his write up on the state of Madina. "I want to make it clear a person like me did not want to enter in politics, God gave me everything after cricket I had everything I was not short of anything. I came against them [mafias]."

During the session, a caller also thanked the premier for launching the housing finance project as he was now able to have his own home. The caller said that the process of a house loan was "easy."

Inflation

PM Imran said that inflation in the country was increased because of two reasons firstly due to the disruption in global supply in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. Secondly, the government had got "high circular debt" after coming into power and it had to pay heave interests on loans purchased by the previous government.

He gave examples of leading world economies as they were also battling with the Covid and inflation. "The US spent $6,000 billion for its people in form of the Corona Relief Package and we spent $8 billion for our people," he said while sharing relief measures.

"We are part of global inflation, it has an impact on everything."

Quoting world statistics, PM Imran said that the world food prices were highest in the 10 years and inflation in the US was highest in 40 years.

He admitted the salaried class was most impacted because of the coronavirus. "We have to assist our salaried class. We will also need to support the lower middle class, for this you need a little patience.”

He also admitted that in the same period corporate sector had reported huge profits and urged them to increase the salaries of its employees -- the salaried class.

Health card

One of the callers lauded the premier’s health card initiative but stressed the need for creating awareness among the people. The caller told the PM that his initiative was not “properly” brought to attention by his media team.

“I believe if you can fool many people for a brief period, but you cannot fool people for a longer period,” the premier said. He again said the country’s economy was struggling due to heavy interests on loans, circular debt, Covid financial impact, and flow of dollars to Afghanistan after new rulers took the reins.

“Health card is my initiative. I thought of such a need after getting my mother’s condition who was suffering from cancer at that time,” he said and called the initiative as “health system.”

PM Imran said private hospitals would be able to build their centres in the district hospitals of the country under this initiative.

Presidential system

One of the caller asked about media reports pertaining to presidential system.

Premier Imran said: "In my first speech, I had said that you will hear a lot of noise from everywhere and that the prime minister has become incompetent."

In an apparent reference to opposition leaders, he said that they "were not theives but dacoits."

PM Imran stressed the need for rule of law in the country to ensure order in the country.

Furthermore, he also talked about Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.

"I get called out for not meeting Shehbaz as he is the leader of the opposition. [But] I see him as the nation's criminal," he said, adding that the PML-N leader's speeches often sounded like a "job application". He was of the view that the opposition leader has a high status.

The PM said that Shehbaz had still not provided answers in the Ramzan Sugar Mills case and appealed to the courts to decide the matter at the earliest by conducting daily hearings.

"Nations are not [just] destroyed by atom bombs. They can also be destroyed by doing away with ethics."

Giving the example of Switzerland, he said that the country just had "cows and mountains" but was ranked among the top in the world due to ensuring rule of law.

"I am ready to speak to anyone, PTM or Baloch separatists, and work with anyone but will not reconcile with criminals as it will be akin to the country," PM Imran.

Reforms in criminal justice system

One of the users had a query about the Noor Muqaddam case and recalled the Shahzeb murder case.

He stressed the need for having a rule of law and not to pressurise social institutions. He also called for not providing any privilege to rich people.

PM Imran said the government was going to bring changes in the criminal justice system and plans under way to work against cartels.

He added that there were pending cases in the country.

"A country gets destroyed due to powerful people's theft, not poor people's," he said.

PM Imran said that the country was aiming to start the "Made in Pakistan" trend.