Imran Khan’s speech in full

Complete transcript of the victory speech by PTI chairman and election frontrunner as he addresses nation from capital.

imran khan
Khan pledges to strengthen Pakistan's institutions [PTI handout/via REUTERS]

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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. 

Profile: Who is Imran Khan?

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 [candidate] was killed by a suicide bomber. Haroon Bilour [another candidate] was killed in a suicide attack. Despite all that, this election process was completed.

I want to thank the security forces … 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.

Briefly, I want to describe the kind of Pakistan I want to see … look, my inspiration is the Prophet Muhammad, the city of Medina that he founded, how it was based on humanity. For the first time, the 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. 

The weak are dying of hunger. I will try my best – 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 percent of children have stunted growth, they don’t reach the right height, or their brains don’t develop.

There are countries with less than 25 million people, and we have that many children out of school.

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 not do any kind of political victimising. 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.

We will set an example of how the law is the same for everyone. If the West is ahead of us today, it is because their laws are not discriminatory …. this will be our biggest guiding principle.

The biggest challenge we are facing is the economic crisis … we have never had such a huge fiscal deficit. All of this is because 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.

All rulers who have come so far, they spend money on themselves …. the way our ruling elite spends money, how will anyone pay tax?

People don’t pay taxes, because they see how our ruling elite spends that money [on themselves].

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.

We will use as an educational institute … all governor houses will be used for the public. We might convert some of them into hotels, as we did in Nathia Gali.

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 strengthen the anti-corruption institutions … and hopefully, our farmers, the whole government will work to make sure the farmers make money somehow.

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

The next thing I want to talk about is that we face a very big foreign policy challenge … 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 … The other thing we can learn from China is … the measures they have taken against corruption, how they have arrested more than 400 ministers there.

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 … up until now, that has been one way, the US thinks it gives us aid to fight their war … we want both countries to benefit, we want a balanced 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. Those tensions, that fight, between neighbours, we will try to bring them together.

On India: I was saddened in the last few days, 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.

I think it will be very good for all of us if we have good relations with India. 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.

We are at square one right now [with India]. If India’s leadership is ready, we are ready to improve ties with India. If you step forward one step, we will take two steps forward.

I say this with conviction, this will be the most important thing for the subcontinent, 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, we can also bring a governance system that can make the people’s lives easier.

I pledge this to you today, it will be my foremost aim to remain as simple as possible … in this poor country, these huge symbols, these mansions and protocols, on public’s money, I pledge that there will be a different kind of governance in Pakistan. 

I am saying to you today, that 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. My whole aim will be to protect our lower classes and to bring them up.

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.

Today I say, 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.

Source: Al Jazeera