ISLAMAABAD - Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Thursday urged the “neutrals” to review its policies, saying stability would not come to the country unless free and fair elections are held.

Addressing a seminar on media freedom here, the PTI chairman asked the neutrals, “Are you worried about this country. Do you know where this country is heading to.” He said that the country’s economy cannot be fixed by borrowing loans and without wealth creation.

“No one is ready to invest in Pakistan due to instability... securing loans from Saudi Arabia and other countries is not a solution... it’s like treating cancer with aspirin,” he said.

Imran said that political and economic stability would only come through free and fair elections. “I want to the tell the neutrals that there is still time to review your decisions... decisions made behind closed doors are often not right,” he said, adding that come what may he will not accept the coalition government led by PML-N. “They are calling our MNAs and pressuring us to accept this government,” he revealed.

Speaking about the media freedom, Imran maintained that as the prime minister he was never scared of independent press. The former premier said that the dictators and corrupt politicians curbed the media freedom to hide their corruption and wrongdoings. “But freedom of speech does not allow one to malign others and level baseless allegations,” he added.

He also accused his opponents of corruption saying, former premier Nawaz Sharif, while in power, built 17 factories out of plundered wealth. “Corruption is a symptom of absence of rule of law,” he maintained.

He also wondered about the role of ‘establishment’ in curbing corruption, saying he always thought that ‘establishment’ was against corrupt rulers. “Why did you let these corrupt leaders imposed upon the country when you yourself [establishment] would say that they are corrupt,” he added. He also revealed that agencies had informed him about the corruption scandal of incumbent rulers when he was the prime minister. Imran also reiterated that attempts were being made to disqualify him and bring back Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified for life by the Supreme Court, from London to put both of them in a same position.

PTI chief says decisions made behind closed doors are often not right n Stability won’t come unless free elections are held n Reiterates attempts being made to disqualify him and bring back Nawaz Sharif

Claims media enjoyed freedom during his govt

“And they are using every tactic for it,” he pressed. “The way people are being picked up from social media […] and they are being forced to say that Imran Khan forced them to say things against the army.”

Speaking about the PTI leader Shahbaz Gill’s sedition case, Imran said that no action was taken against other political leaders including Nawaz, her daughter Maryam, and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman for targeting the state institutions. “But on the other hand, Shahbaz Gill was stripped naked and tortured,” he said.

He said this is all being done to spread fear to force people to accept this imported government.

Imran said that when he became the prime minister, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was not under his control. “There was a hand of someone who would press the accelerator and undo it as per his wish. Had NAB been in my control, I would have retrieved Rs15 to Rs20 billion from them [the political parties],” he claimed.

Imran said that journalists such as Sami Ibrahim, Sabir Shakir and Arshad Sharif were being threatened.

Imran then challenged that spreading fear amongst the people would not help because the nation had finally realised that they wanted true freedom.

The PTI chairman claimed that the government “picks up” his party’s social media activists and forces them to say that they tweeted under his directions.