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We are not afraid of media criticism as it improve governance: Imran Khan

01 September, 2018

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ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday urged the media to give the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in Centre as well as provinces at least three months’ time to settle in and deliver.

“We are not afraid of media criticism as it helps the government evaluate and improve governance. However, we need some time to settle in and deliver,” Imran told a group of TV anchors at the PM’s Office. Media is free to criticize all policies and measures the new government takes, he said, adding that it in fact helps government resolve issues.

Seeking the media’s help in ongoing accountability process in the country, he said that those facing the charges would cry foul but the media should not become part of any propaganda.

The prime minister said Pakistan’s circular debts had reached Rs 1,200 billion, maintaining that the country could not progress without accountability. He said he had directed National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief to carry out indiscriminate accountability and take action even if a member of the government is found involved in corruption.

To a question about using helicopter to commute between PM Office and his residence in Bani Gala, the prime minister maintained that he uses the chopper for he doesn’t want to cause inconvenience to the commuters. He claimed that the air travel not only saves time and money but also spares commuters and motorists the hassle on the roads. “We will take steps to further cut the government’s expenses. As part of our ongoing austerity drive, we will also auction the luxury vehicles used by the former governments,” he added.

About his plans for foreign visits, the prime minister said that he will stay in the country to focus on state policy and improving the standard of governance at least for a year before embarking on foreign visits.

About Punjab chief minister, Imran said Usman Buzdar is a ‘brave man’ and time will prove that choosing him to run the most populous province of the country was a right decision.

Regarding his team, Imran said he was not responsible for the past of individuals he had inducted in his team. “They have been conveyed that any irregularities would not be tolerated now,” he said.

The prime minister said that none of his cabinet members has been appointed permanently and could be shuffled on the basis of performance.

Regarding his visit to the General Headquarters, Imran said the visit went well and it was conveyed that the government had backing from the institution.

“We are not facing any undue pressure from any institution. We’re working with the security institutions in accordance with the constitution,” he said in reply to a question.

He vowed that his government would cancel all agreements made against the interest of the country.

The prime minister welcomed as ‘good omen’ the chief justice’s decision to take suo motu notice of the transfer of Rizwan Gondal, the district police officer (DPO) of Pakpattan. Imran said he had only directed the chief secretary to look into the matter and that he was unaware of the details of the incident.

To a question, Imran maintained that his government would not accept any unjust demand by the United States. “We won’t want to fight with the US, but ties with Washington need to be on the basis of equality and mutual respect,” he added.

On ties with India, Imran said his government wanted to develop good relations with the neighbouring country and inviting cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to his inauguration was part of the efforts to normalise the bilateral ties.

Imran Khan reportedly refused to take a telephone call from the French president twice during the interaction with the senior journalists.

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