* Tells Indian channel there should be political solution to problems, not war
* Says Pakistan wants same relationship with US as it has with India
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief Imran Khan has said that corruption has become a major issue in Pakistan and the people have started realising that cause of poverty in the country is corruption.
In an interview with an Indian channel, Imran said that he had been struggling to make Pakistan corruption-free for the last 15 years. “I came in on a platform of anti-corruption, and secondly, on the war on terror, I was the only one who kept saying that there’s no military solution. I said there’s only a political solution,” Imran said, adding that now after 40,000 people dead, everyone realises that there was no military solution to the problem of militancy and terrorism. “I got a lot of flak on this. They kept calling me pro-Taliban because I said there’s no military solution. I stood my ground and finally these two ideas raised my credibility because as they say an idea’s time has come. What I stood for and believed, people now understand and believe,” he said.
About attracting big crowds in his party meetings, Imran said that a small party never remains a small party and a big party never remains a big party. Life changes and you can change your destiny, he said. He disclosed that he was dropped from the team after the first test match. “For three years, I was in the wilderness and when I was dropped, the entire team predicted that it was the last time I was going to play for Pakistan,” he said, adding that when he came into politics, the situation was even worse than when he had come into cricket. “I was not very good when I came into cricket. I had only played about 10 first class games. I was only 18 years old. So, when I came into politics, I was an outsider. I hardly knew anything about Pakistani politics. I knew about international politics but not about Pakistani politics. I had no idea how politics worked in Pakistan and then I formed my own party and refused to take other politicians with me and took the most difficult route you know single-handedly. We were offered an alliance with Nawaz Sharif. A five-month-old party was offered 30 seats by a party in a two-party system that was going to win — Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N. We refused because I said that he is as corrupt as Benazir Bhutto and we ended up getting wiped off,” he said. He said, “No one can defeat us now. I used to know when we were playing cricket that a time would arrive during a game when without having actually won, you knew you were going to win. That stage has arrived in politics.”Imran claimed that even Benazir never had such big rallies. Over half-a-million people attended both the two big rallies in Lahore and Karachi and it was not a sudden change, he said.
“You could see people changing, people getting disillusioned with the old parties. The economic situation deteriorating, and a point came when people realised that unless we changed, we were doomed,” he said.
Imran denied the allegation that he was an Army candidate. “It’s my opponents. My opponents do not understand this phenomenon. They cannot understand how suddenly the party has shot up because they are still living in the old days. The level of political awareness in Pakistan is unprecedented and these parties have got exposed,” he said. He said that there was a consensus in Pakistan that the military was not the answer, that a military coup was no longer the answer. “I mean here we are and we also think that these two parties are the most corrupt parties, they’ve taken Pakistan to the brink, but we don’t think the army’s the answer,” he said. Imran said that he was a Pakistani nationalist who wanted his country to be a sovereign country. “We would want the same relationship with the United States as what it has with India,” he said.