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I don't believe in conspiracies nor any conspiracy is being hatched against me: Shahid Khaqan

23 January, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi Monday said the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) needed no ‘NRO’ because only the plunderers would take refuge behind it.

In a meeting with executive committee of the Parliamentary Reporters Association here at the PM Office, the prime minister said that the incumbent government was ruling the country fairly and transparently. He said the National Assembly was about to complete its term after about four months. He said the House could only be dissolved through two methods. Firstly, the prime minister could dissolve it if party leader Nawaz Sharif directed so, and secondly through the no-confidence motion, he added. He said leaders of the house and the opposition would decide about the caretaker prime minister through consultation.

To a question, the prime minister said he neither believed in conspiracies nor any conspiracy was being hatched against him. He said both Imran Khan and Asif Zardari had also joined Tahirul Qadri and only the masses could decide the fate of those who had been protesting. He said it would be better for the opposition to bring any debatable issue in the parliament instead of tearing out the agenda of the House.

To a question, Abbasi said political talks with those who were cursing the parliament would only be held during the next polls. He said every political party was engaged to draw public support and the masses would decide their fate in the 2018 general election. He said the PML-N would carry the message of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to seek public support for the next elections.

The prime minister said those who dragged the country into war against terrorism were staying in Dubai and London in their flats while the politicians were facing courts in the country. He said the situation would have been different had there been a democratic government at the time of 9/11.

To a question, the prime minister said those resembling the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) with the East India Company were in fact unaware of the history. Giving any such resemblance was wrong and irrational, he said, adding China would invest in any other country “if we failed to take advantage of it.”

Abbasi said the government had been earning huge revenue by charging Rs 7,000 per tonne of the liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) instead of distributing LPG quota among political parties as had been the practice in the past.

Commenting about Khatm-e-Nabuwat (finality of the Prophethood), he said the situation could have been averted had the PML-N’s suggestion been accepted during the passage of the bill in Senate. Asked about the depreciation of rupee, the prime minister said the value of dollar was ascertained based on its demand and supply, and added that the dollar had also appreciated in other countries of the region.

To another question, the prime minister said any haste should be avoided on the FATA reforms as high level committees were already working in this regard.

In a separate interview to Reuters, the prime minister said his government will push ahead with plans to seize control of charities run by a religious personality designated a terrorist by Washington, and warned the United States not to weaken Pakistan.

“Yes, the government will take over charities being run by Hafiz Saeed which are sanctioned and not allowed to operate,” Abbasi.

Answering specific questions about the proposed takeover of JuD and FIF, Abbasi said the civilian government had the backing of the military. “Everybody is on board, everybody is on the same page, everybody is committed to implementation of UN sanctions,” he said.

Abbasi brushed off US President Donald Trump’s recent tweet accusing Pakistan of ‘lies and deception’ in its commitment to fighting terrorism, as he raised the prospect of charging the United States to use Pakistan’s airspace to resupply NATO troops in Afghanistan.

Abbasi said Pakistan had made progress in curbing terrorist financing after meetings with the Financial Action Task Force (FATF), an international body that warned Islamabad could be put on a watchlist for not doing enough to stop the practice. “We’ve had several meetings on that, and from what I’ve seen a large part of those actions have been taken,” he said.

Abbasi said any sanctions against Pakistan would be counter-productive to the country’s own battle against militants, which he called ‘the largest war on terror in the world’. “Any constraints put on Pakistan, actually only serve to degrade our capability to fight the war against terror,” he said.

Abbasi said Trump’s tweet was ‘unacceptable’ in its tone and that Pakistan should not be ‘scapegoated’ for US failures in Afghanistan.

“That is something … we cannot accept because nobody’s suffered more than Pakistan,” Abbasi said, adding that tens of thousands of Pakistani have died from militancy that has inflicted damage worth $120 billion to the economy.

Abbasi said much of the suspended aid was from the Coalition Support Fund (CSF). He said the US needed to respect Pakistan’s contribution to the fight against militancy and raised the prospect of charging Washington for air transport flights that have been resupplying US-led troops and Afghan forces in landlocked Afghanistan.

“If somebody wants to start quantifying expenses and aid, I think let’s put this on the table also. Let’s discuss that,” Abbasi said, though he added that such talk was ‘hypothetical’.

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