Islamabad: Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked critics, anchors, media persons, social media users and journalists to give his new government some time to settle in before being judged for its actions.
“Give us three months before criticising our performance,” the prime minister said while talking to a select group of senior journalists at the Prime Minister House.
He promised that three months down the road, under the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government, there would be a marked difference in the way the country is run.
The issues that came under discussion were the accountability of PTI leaders, use of official helicopters by the family of Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, a tiff between Khawar Maneka, ex-husband of the first lady, and Pakpattan District Police Office (DPO) Rizwan Gondal, remarks by Punjab Information Minister Fayyazul Hassan Chohan against film artists, alleged misuse of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government’s official helicopter by PM Khan, etc.
The Prime Minister said he was personally monitoring the performance of his team, federal and provincial ministers and none of them was appointed on permanent basis and would be shown the door if he/she failed to deliver.
Ahead of a scheduled visit by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pakistan, the prime minister said relations between the two countries would be dictated by mutual respect.
“Our relations with the US will based on mutual respect,” Khan told journalists.
“We will hold talks with the US administration with dignity and respect.”
The PM’s media interaction came a day after he and his top aides attended a comprehensive briefing on national security from the top brass at the General Headquarters (GHQ).
About India, the prime minister said his government wanted to develop good relations with the neighbouring country and added his invitation to cricketer-turned-politician Navjot Singh Sidhu to his oath-taking was part of his efforts to normalise bilateral relations.
He requested the media to help the government in the ongoing accountability process, adding those facing corruption charges would cry foul but the media should not become part of any propaganda.Commenting on a controversy involving his use of helicopter to commute between his Bani Gala residence and the Prime Minister House, the premiere claimed that air travel not only saved time and money but also spared commuters and motorists of any hassles on the roads.
The prime minister said the government would take steps to further cut official expenses.
“As part of our ongoing austerity drive, we will also auction luxury vehicles used by the former governments,” he said.
“We are not facing any undue pressure from any institution. We’re working along with the security institutions in accordance with the Constitution,” he replied to a question.
On the clash between a senior police official in Pakpattan with Maneka, former husband of the first lady, he said he had only directed the Punjab chief secretary to look into the matter and that he was unaware of the details of the incident.
The prime minister defended his pick for the post of Punjab chief minister. He said Usman Buzdar has been selected purely on merit.
“Many people visited me for this position. Everyone who visited me wanted ministry but Chief Minister of Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar requested for a hospital in his area,” he said.