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Dubai: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has hinted at finding ‘massive’ oil reserves in recent off-shore drilling off the coast of Karachi.

“Pakistan will not need to import oil after reserves are found near Karachi’s seas,” said Imran while talking to media at Prime Minister House in Islamabad on Monday.

“I will share good news with you soon regarding the discovery of huge off-shore oil reserves in the recent drilling,” he said, adding: “The nation should pray.”

God willing, he hoped, the reserves will be so large that ‘we will not need to import any oil,” Geo TV reported.

A group of multinational companies had started offshore drilling at a distance of 230 kilometers from Karachi for the exploration of oil and gas on January 14.

In December 2018, Exxon Mobil had announced that it would reinvest in the Pakistani market after a gap of nearly three decades.

Pakistan, after a gap of nine years, began offshore drilling to find huge oil and gas deposits in ultra-deep waters at an estimated cost of over $100 million.

“Pakistan has estimated nine trillion cubic feet gas deposits. ExxonMobil expects oil deposits there as well,” an official said in January.

Pakistan meets around 15-20 per cent of its energy needs through local oil and gas exploration and production, while the rest is met through expensive imports.

Opposition Million March rubbished

Prime Minister Imran has dismissed the call by the Opposition for a million march to the capital. He said he was confident that the people would not come out on the streets to defend some corrupt families, reported APP, Pakistan’s official news agency.

“There has not ever been even a single public movement in the world, which was driven only to protect the corruption of a family,” he noted.

The Prime Minister, who seemed amused to hear the question about the million people march by the Opposition, said: “We did protest for four and a half months, but it was against issues.”

He said the opposition on the other hand wanted to cover up its money laundering cases while some wanted to hide under the garb of medical treatment.

Drive against corruption

Imran said he wanted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to target the top men involved in corruption rather than singling out the corrupt at the lowest tier.

“You can only eradicate corruption when you get to the men at the top,” he said and added the Supreme Court too raised the same issue with the NAB.

No medical treatment for Sharif abroad

When asked whether the former Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif would be allowed medical treatment abroad, Imran Khan asked “Under which law can he be allowed to proceed abroad?”

He said hundreds and thousands of prisoners were already in various jails and there has to be justice.

“The PML-N government had been in power in the Punjab province for around 30 years, and they could not build even a single medical treatment facility to cater to the illness of their political elite,” Imran Khan said.

“They can build their factories and business empires, but they cannot build hospitals,” he said.

He cited the examples of the absconding former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar and other family members of the Sharif family, who always had their medical checkups and treatments abroad.

Poverty Alleviation campaign

Imran said his government would launch country’s largest poverty alleviation project on March 27. He said with the input from China, he was looking forward to undertaking measures to fight country’s rampant poverty.