Islamabad: Prominent Pakistani newspapers have criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for his controversial statement that he wished he could send 500 corrupt individuals to jail by emulating Chinese President Xi Jinping’s “crusade” against corruption, saying it revealed a “disturbing mentality”.
Khan, who was in Beijing this week for talks with the Chinese leadership, including Xi, identified corruption as one of the biggest impediments to investment in Pakistan and said one thing he had learned from China was how the country’s leadership tackled corruption.
“I wish I could follow President Xi’s example and put 500 corrupt people in Pakistan in jail,” said Khan on Wednesday while addressing Chinese businessmen.
“One of President Xi Jinping’s biggest crusade has been against corruption,” Khan said.
Imran was referring to Xi’s massive anti-corruption drive launched in 2012 that reportedly netted more than 1.3 million officials at various levels, from the elite to the ordinary.
Xi, who is also general secretary of the ruling Communist Party and commander-in-chief of the military, has launched a high-profile campaign targeting party, government, military and state-owned company officials suspected of corruption.
But the Pakistani media cautioned Khan against aping the Chinese model anti-corruption drive.
Khan’s statement seems to ring with what Minister Faisal Vawda said not too long ago.
What to avoid: “China has long been admired by Pakistani leaders for its transformation into a economic powerhouse… But though there are many things we in Pakistan can learn from China there are also lessons on what to avoid,” Dawn newspaper said in an editorial.