Friday, September 30, 2022

Imran Khan: ‘Dictators always want to control media, afraid of free speech’

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan said on Thursday that the dictators always wanted to control media as they were afraid of the freedom of speech, ARY News reported.

Imran Khan was addressing a seminar related to the freedom of expression and the protection of media in Islamabad today.

The PTI chief said that on several occasions across the globe, attempts were made to control the masses as in monarchy and dictatorship, such rulers wanted to even control the thoughts of the humans.

“They want to control the minds for imposing their rules but not improving their societies. It is a historical fact that only those nations became stronger who allowed the freedom of expression,” said Khan.

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“I always try to get lessons from my mistakes. I have closely observed British and Pakistan societies. In Pakistan, there are different laws for rich and poor people. Only an independent individual can collect big achievements but a slave cannot. Slavery is a kind of mindset.”

“Whenever I talk about real independence, there is a background of getting freedom for my nation. I have never gotten afraid of independent media. Only dictators want to control media because they are afraid of free speech.”

“[Senior journalist] Najam Sethi had been tortured for three days when he launched criticism against [former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) Quaid] Nawaz Sharif. These people are afraid of being exposed for their corruption and they choose to break the law.”

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“I have fought a character assassination case in the United Kingdom (UK). If the freedom of speech is allowed in the UK, then there are some laws to discourage character assassination. Najam Sethi had also levelled allegations against me when I was the prime minister. Despite being the PM, I did not get justice. When a prime minister fails to get justice in a society, then what will happen to the common man?”

He said that PML-N and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had lodged corruption cases against each other. “I joined politics to eliminate corruption. The root cause of corruption is lacking the supremacy of law in the country which is impossible without the accountability of the powerful persons.”

Imran Khan said that he supported the military ruler General Pervez Musharraf during his tenure to eliminate corruption but he gave NRO to the corrupt rulers. “Unfortunately, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was not in our control [during PTI government], otherwise, we would definitely recover billions of stolen money from 15 to 20 people.”

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Imran Khan once again criticised the use of power against the peaceful PTI protestors on May 25 in Islamabad. He said that the current rulers had thoughts that the people would accept their rulers like animals.

Regarding the ongoing media curbs, Imran Khan censured the coalition government. He said that he knew ARY News anchorperson Arshad Sharif very well. “Arshad Sharif is patriotic man who has been given threats.”

“If Shahbaz Gill gives a statement by mistake, then what is the reason to blame ARY News? Shahbaz Gill has been asked to give a statement against Imran Khan.”

The PTI chairman said that only fresh elections could bring political stability to the country.

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