Pakistan’s prime minister claims previous governments didn’t focus on Balochistan’s development due to its low vote-bank
Time will prove that the Narendra Modi regime has been worse for India than any other adversary could have been, Prime Minister Imran Khan said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
During a wide-ranging interaction with digital media publishers and broadcasters in Islamabad, he reiterated that the current Indian regime was “hell bent” on destabilizing Pakistan. He said his government would not conduct any dialogue with India until it revoked its decision to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution, reviving Jammu and Kashmir’s special status. He also alleged that Delhi was aiding the efforts of the Islamic State militant group in spreading chaos across Pakistan by fanning sectarianism.
To a question on last week’s murder of Shia Hazara coalminers, the prime minister blamed the genesis of militant sectarianism on the Afghan jihad of the 1980s. He said that militant groups left behind following the exit of foreign powers had “caused immense losses to Pakistan,” particularly by targeting the Shia Hazara community. “Now this [Machh attack] that has been claimed by ISIS … the opinion of all of us, our security agencies is that India is backing ISIS,” he alleged, adding that it was the “stated aim” of Modi’s government to spread unrest in Pakistan.
Khan reiterated claims that his government had been informed of India wanting to “inflame sectarianism” in March 2020 by funding the killing of Shia and Sunni ulema. “This was going on for a while. Full marks [to] our ISI and world-class agencies that preempted this,” he said, claiming that the security agencies had targeted such elements with great difficulty and successfully diffused the situation.
According to the prime minister, the sectarian groups that had originated in the 1980s had morphed into I.S. He claimed previous federal governments had not paid enough attention to Balochistan because of its small vote bank. “Our federal governments did not pay attention to Balochistan because the total vote bank of the province is equal to that of Faisalabad division,” he said. “Whichever government came into power, tribal leaders formed an alliance with them,” he said, adding that this allowed such sardars to shore up power even as the common man continued to languish in poverty.
“The PTI-led government is the first one in history that is working toward the socioeconomic development of Balochistan and paying full attention to it,” he claimed. “We are employing efforts to develop south Balochistan through different packages, but we are still short of funds,” he said, and praised the performance of Balochistan Chief Minister Jam Kamal Khan in changing the legacy harming the province’s development.
Reiterating his claims of previous governments being responsible for all that ails Pakistan despite his government having completed half its constitutionally mandated tenure, Khan said the country was now at a critical juncture. He claimed the opposition parties were “blackmailing” the government in a bid to protect their “looted money,” endangering efforts for economic uplift, anti-COVID operations and FATF legislation. He alleged that political leaders had awarded each other National Reconciliation Ordinances to hide their respective corruption. “Even Pervez Musharraf gave NRO to two major political parties of the country,” he said, referring to the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz). “In the past, some of the ministers were even allowed to work abroad while holding offices here,” he added.
“If we too start issuing the NRO to corrupt elements, the country will suffer,” he claimed and reiterated claims of his spokespersons that the opposition’s Pakistan Democratic Movement had not come together in the national interest; rather it was designed to serve their personal agendas. “I reiterate, I will never give them the NRO,” he vowed.
The prime minister termed social media a force whose power people had yet to fully understand. He urged social media activists to be aware of the reality, and convey correct information to the people about the government’s narrative.
During the interaction, Khan also claimed that the government was working intensively on introducing a uniform syllabus to integrate the nation. He claimed that his government’s “prudent” policies had helped Pakistan prosper economically, adding that this had allowed them to repay $20 billion in foreign debt. Despite these claims, the PTI-led government has increased the public debt by over Rs. 11 trillion in its two year of power; there has been no decrease.
Prime Minister Imran Khan also clarified that Pakistan enjoyed good relations with a majority of countries, including the United States, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey.