ISLAMABAD - Prime Minister Imran Khan Friday said apt U-turns meant sensible leadership, terming inflexible leaders the ‘most foolish’.

Speaking to journalists here at the PM’s House, Imran Khan defended himself against the ‘U-turns’ allegations, saying only real leaders take U-turns.

The PM, who took oath in August, said: “Adolf Hitler and Napoleon Bonaparte suffered huge defeats and caused losses as they did not take U-turns.” Imran added that a leader has to take U-turn according to the situation in the interest of the nation.

Asked why his government accuses former prime minister of being dishonest when he takes back a decision, PM Khan said: “Nawaz Sharif does not take U-turns, he has lied in the courts.”

Imran Khan-led Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf formed the federal government in August, pledging to bring a ‘change’ in its election campaign. There had been massive criticism against the government after Imran Khan and Asad Umar announced to borrow money from the international financial institutions to improve the country’s economy.

Opposition parties refer to the PTI’s promises in the election campaign that borrowing money was against the integrity of the nation. The opposition also cites Imran Khan’s broken promises on not residing in the PM’s House and not using the special plane for foreign trips.

PM Khan said PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif did not qualify for the post of Public Accounts Committee chairman because of his alleged corrupt background.

“How can we appoint a corrupt person as head of an anti-corruption body. Shehbaz Sharif is facing corruption cases in the courts,” he said, adding: “Shehbaz Sharif’s appointment as PAC chairman would portray a negative image of Pakistan at international level.”

PM Khan also urged the National Accountability Bureau to hold influential corrupt personalities accountable. “Targeting people involved in minor cases is affecting the performance of NAB,” he maintained. The premier said amendments in accountability laws were required to improve NAB’s performance.

The premier was furious over banning of Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry from Senate proceedings by Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani for hostile remarks against the opposition.

PM Khan said he had also contacted Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani and urged him to resolve the issue with mutual understanding.

On November 15, Sadiq Sanjrani had banned Fawad Chaudhry’s entrance in the Upper House asking him to apologize to the opposition for hostile remarks. However, Chaudhry made it clear that he would not tender apology over what was generally perceived as ‘inappropriate behavior.’

The minister also called Sanjrani an ‘accidental chairman’ and asserted that he had not ever articulated un-parliamentary words in House. He contended, “It seems that Senate chairman is under pressure. He (Sanjrani) fears no-confidence motion.”

PM Khan said the outcomes of his China visit were starting to become visible. “My China visit was more successful than any PM’s visit in the history. The results have started to come,” he remarked.

About the money-laundering, PM Khan said: “We have traced $15 billion sent to Dubai from Pakistan.”

Khan said the government will present a comprehensive programme to the nation showing its performance and direction in education, health poverty alleviation and other vital sectors during the first 100 days.

He said the first 100 days report assumes a significant importance in any government as it updated the people about government's direction and future course of action.

The prime minister said his government inherited a huge deficit of current and fiscal account and is endeavouring to overcome the financial crisis. He said that the government decided to approach the friendly countries to deal with this situation and, it overcame this financial crunch and balance of payments issue.

APP adds: The prime minister regretted that unfortunately no effort was ever made for democracy in Pakistan, adding instead of democracy the trend of kleptocracy was promoted in the country where the rulers continued to utilise the government for their personal gains.

He said as one trillion US dollars were estimated to be transferred from the poor nations to rich countries, Pakistan was also counted among the countries whose wealth was transferred abroad through money laundering by the elite.

He said despite all the foreign aid received so far, Pakistan was considered as a third world country. “It is unfortunate that we still do not know as to how much resources we have and own,” he remarked.

He said with the country having a lot of oil and gas resources besides other unexplored resources for which no effort was made in the past, it was revealed by his government that only 6 percent of Pakistan’s oil and gas reserves were utilized so far.

He said that institutions in the countries with poor rule of law were deliberately weakened so that corruption by ruling elite was made possible. Cronies were appointed in the institutions by ignoring merit so that they did not hinder the corruption by ruling elite, he said, adding in this way the white collar crime, which was difficult to check, was facilitated.

“We are not fighting against the democrats rather are against those who destroy the country. The country cannot achieve progress without real democracy,” he remarked.

Talking about the 2018 elections, he said in the 2018 general elections PTI faced defeat on some 55 seats including 14 National Assembly seats and 40 Provincial Assembly seats with the margin of just 3000 to 4000 votes.

He said the government gave a clear offer to the opposition for opening of any constituency about which they had any complaint, adding but the objective opposition was not the same. “Some people know, as things are also coming before us and when all facts will come across, what would be their future?” he remarked.

He said the main reason behind the fact that people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, which was known for their trend of not electing any political party twice, voted PTI into power again with two-third majority was the people-oriented work of PTI government in the province.

He said Maulana Fazlur Rehman and other politicians were making hue and cry due to the fact they know that after KP they would be politically defeated altogether from other areas of the country as well.

He said the priority of the government was to curb money laundering as currently around $10 billion were being laundered. The government was also signing agreements with other countries to address the crime, he added.

Discussing the country’s economic condition and organizations facing huge losses, the prime minister said the circular debt in power sector swelled from Rs 400 billion in 2013 to Rs 1200 billion in 2018. Gas losses had increased to Rs 150 billion, PIA losses touched Rs 400 billion mark while Pakistan Steel Mills was facing losses of around Rs 400 billion. The Utility Stores Corporation was facing loss of Rs14 billion and Pakistan Post was under deficit of Rs 9 billion. However, the government would gradually overcome these issues, he resolved.

To a question, the prime minister said the government had started reformation process in Federal Investigation Agency.

U-turns mean sensible leadership: Imran