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‘This is the cleanest election in Pakistan’s history’

  • Published at 04:37 pm July 28th, 2018
Will there be a new kind of governance in Pakistan?
Will there be a new kind of governance in Pakistan? / REUTERS

The following is an excerpt of the victory speech by PTI chairman and election front-runner Imran Khan

When I came into politics, I wanted Pakistan to become the kind of country that our leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah wanted.

This election is a historic election in Pakistan. In this election, people have sacrificed a lot.

There was terrorism in this election. I want to especially praise the people of Balochistan, the kind of difficulties that they had to face. The way they came out to vote, I want to thank all those people.

I saw the scenes on TV, the way the elderly and disabled came out in the heat to vote, the way overseas Pakistanis came out to vote. I want to praise them because they strengthened our democracy.

In the run-up to the elections, Ikram Gandapur was killed by a suicide bomber. Haroon Bilour was killed in a suicide attack. Despite all that, this election process was completed.

I want to thank the security forces and my party members, where we had suicide attacks in 10 locations. I want to commend all of them.

Thank God we have been successful and got a mandate.

My inspiration is the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), the city of Medina that he founded, how it was based on humanity. For the first time, a state was formed based on humanitarianism.

That is my inspiration, that Pakistan should have that kind of humanitarian state, where we take responsibility for our weaker classes. 

All of my policies will be made to raise our weaker classes, for our labourers -- for our poor farmers, who work all year and get no money. 45% of children have stunted growth, they don’t reach the right height, or their brains don’t develop.

My effort will be that we try our best to raise these people up, that all of our policies be focused on human development. I want the whole country to think like this.

No country can prosper when there is a small island of rich people, and a sea of poor.

I want all of Pakistan to unite. I want to make it clear that anyone who was against us, who voted against us, I think the kind of personal attacks that I have seen, no one has seen those, but I have forgotten all of those, they are behind me. My cause is far bigger than me.

We will establish supremacy of the law. Whoever violates the law, we will act against them.

Our state institutions will be so strong that they will stop corruption. Accountability will start with me, then my ministers, and then it will go from there.

If the West is ahead of us today, it is because their laws are not discriminatory -- this will be our biggest guiding principle.

Our economy is going down because of dysfunctional institutions. We need to make an atmosphere for doing business.

I think our greatest asset is our overseas Pakistanis. We will fix governance and invite them to invest here.

Our second problem is unemployment. We have the second youngest population in the world -- they need jobs.

Where Pakistan is standing right now, I am telling you that we will run Pakistan like it has never been run before, and we will start with ourselves.

I promise that I will protect the people’s tax money. We will cut all of our expenses. I am telling you here that the PM House, this huge mansion, in a country where there are so many poor people, I would be embarrassed to live there.

My point is that what we have seen in Pakistan so far, the way the ruling elite has lived off the country’s taxes, I will end this.

We have to escape this economic crisis. No one is coming to save us.

We will help small businesses. We will bring in new things to bring in employment for young people.

If any country needs peace right now, then it is Pakistan.

Our economic crisis is such that we want to have good relations with all our neighbours. China gives us a huge opportunity through CPEC, to use it and drive investment into Pakistan.

We want to learn from China how they brought 700 million people out of poverty and the measures they have taken against corruption.

Then there is Afghanistan, a country that has suffered the most in the war on terror. Afghanistan’s people need peace. We want peace there. If there is peace in Afghanistan, there will be peace in Pakistan. We will make every effort to achieve peace there.

We want to have open borders with Afghanistan one day.

With the US, we want to have a mutually beneficial relationship. 

We want to improve ties with Iran. Saudi Arabia is a friend who has always stood by us in difficult times. Our aim will be that whatever we can do for conciliation in the Middle East, we want to play that role. 

On India: I was saddened in the last few days by how the media in India portrayed me as a Bollywood film villain. It seemed like India feared everything bad would happen if Imran Khan came into power. I am the Pakistani who has the most familiarity with India, I have been all over that country.

We need to have trade ties, and the more we will trade, both countries will benefit. The unfortunate truth is that Kashmir is a core issue, and the situation in Kashmir, and what the people of Kashmir have seen in the last 30 years, they have really suffered.

Pakistan and India’s leadership should sit at a table and try to fix this problem. It’s not going anywhere.

I say this with conviction, this will be the most important thing for the sub-continent, for both countries to have friendship.

To end, I pledge to my Pakistani nation that I will prove that we can fix our governance system in this country. 

I pledge this to you today, it will be my foremost aim to remain as simple as possible. I pledge that there will be a different kind of governance in Pakistan. 

For the first time, Pakistan’s policies won’t be for the few rich people. It will be for the poor, for our women, for our minorities, whose rights are not respected. 

Finally, on rigging. Today political parties claim there was rigging. The first thing I will say is that this election commission was formed by the two main political parties, the PPP and PML-N. This was not a PTI election commission. I say to you today, if you say there was rigging in any one constituency, we will stand with you and aid in its investigation.

In any constituency you want to investigate, we are ready to stand with you and investigate it. This is the cleanest election in Pakistan’s history. 

Imran Khan is the Chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and is to be Pakistan’s next prime minister.