ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday warned the incumbent rulers that he and his party would stage an unprecedented march on Islamabad if the government did not comply with Supreme Court judgments and continued to try to destroy its reputation in a bid to hide its own corruption.
Addressing a mammoth rally at the historic Liaquat Bagh, the PTI leader said his party would file a petition in the Supreme Court today (Monday) against the National Assembly Speaker’s ruling regarding the conviction of Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani in the contempt of court case.
The PTI chief lashed out at Prime Minister Gilani for taking a 70-member delegation with him on his recent visit to London, and for splurging a shocking Rs70 million on shopping at a time when the common man was finding it almost impossible to afford two basic meals a day for his family members: “There is no moral ground for Gilani to hold the office any more. The PTI is going to file a petition in supreme court against his visit to Britain along with an huge delegation,” he maintained.
Hours before the PTI public meeting, the party’s Information Secretary Shafqat Mahmood held a meeting with US Embassy political officer Anu Prattipati at the Islamabad Club where the focus of talks was Pak-US relations. “No sinister plan was discussed during the meeting, which was held on the desire of the US diplomat,” Shafqat said when The News approached him on the telephone.
A day earlier, this correspondent learnt that Imran Khan had held a meeting with senior US diplomats. However, this could not be verified, and when asked about it, the PTI information secretary said he had not been aware of such a development.
It is worth mentioning that during his speech, Imran steered clear of sensitive topics such as the resumption of Nato supplies, while mainly focusing on local politics. “Neither Zardari nor Gilani will survive if [the] PTI tsunami hits Islamabad. Today small thieves are in jails while big looters and dacoits are in the corridors of power,” Imran said.
He castigated Prime Minister Gilani, who he called a “convicted prime minister,” adding that he was no more the chief executive on moral grounds after having been handed down punishment by the apex court in the contempt case.
Imran Khan termed President Zardari the biggest ailment of Pakistan, and said his time was up.
Imran also cautioned Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Chief Mian Nawaz Sharif to be mindful of his party’s tsunami, claiming that the PML-N leader had deposited a mere Rs5,000 in taxes three years back. He ridiculed the PML-N spokesman’s contention that this little amount was paid because Nawaz Sharif had been abroad at that time. “Were his sugar mills also abroad?” Imran asked.
Imran declared that his party would not let the armed forces be weakened at any cost, and acknowledged their sacrifices for the country at numerous crossroads. The PTI chairman further promised that both the military and democracy would be strengthened in Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s armed forces, we will protect you as you are facing attacks from not only outside but also from the Mir Jaffars and Sadiqs of Pakistan,” the PTI chief said, making a reference to two notorious characters from the era of Tipu Sultan.
Referring to the golden era of Prophet Mohammad (pbuh), Imran Khan said the PTI would establish a justice-based system, and quoted a famous saying of Hazrat Ali, reminding the gathering that a system based on Kufr could survive but one based on injustice could not.
In his address, Imran vowed to transform Pakistan into a welfare state wherein the poor and rich would be treated equally and the corrupt would not be spared. He added that the Holy Prophet (pbuh) had established the supremacy of law while setting up the first ever welfare state in Madina. He termed overseas Pakistanis as the most precious asset of the country, saying they would invest back home and send money provided that justice was ensured to them. He explained that foreign investment was directly linked to good governance, a concept missing in Pakistan.
The PTI leader also pledged to tax the rich and provide relief to the poor, and in this context observed, “Today the rulers are leading a lavish life and resorting to massive corruption at the cost of the common man. [The] nation is being made to pay for the felonies of the incompetent and corrupt rulers. We will not make the poor cough up for the tax collection,” he vowed.
Imran Khan also maintained that the price hike was due to the gross incompetence of the rulers, and lamented the massive losses being incurred by PIA, Pakistan Steel Mills, Pakistan Railways and other government entities. “[The] days of injustice have ended now. The tsunami of PTI is going to build a new Pakistan,” Imran Khan affirmed.
He also predicted that the PTI would sweep the forthcoming general polls.Before concluding, Imran Khan announced that the PTI tsunami would next move to Hyderabad on June 22, promising to free the people of Sindh from the “Wadera” culture.
More than 1,000 vehicles loaded with scores of party workers attended the rally at Liaqat Bagh Rawalpindi, carrying banners, placards and flags, and chanting slogans in favour of Imran Khan as well as the popular “Go Zardari Go” and “Go Gilani Go”.
President PTI Javed Hashmi, meanwhile, challenged PML-N stalwart and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, to contest elections against him from Rawalpindi to check his popularity among the people of Potohar.
Reminding him about his victory over Sheikh Rashid in the 2008 general elections by more than 60,000 votes, Javed Hashmi predicted the same fate for Chaudhry Nisar Ali if the latter chose to contest the election against him from the PML-N platform: “I am a more seasoned and experienced politician than any other leader in the PML-N, including Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif,” he claimed.
Speaking on the occasion, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said, “It seems that Pakistan is all out for today’s jalsa. Are you ready to sweep away Zardari, Gilani? Pakistan’s deprived community is looking towards Liaqat Bagh today. Listen! Zardari, You went to Chicago and returned empty- handed.” He added that the days of the present rulers were numbered and that after coming to power, the PTI would compensate the masses of the country.
Other PTI leaders including Shireen Mazari, Justice (Retd) Wajihuddin, Mahmood Kasuri, Amir Kiani and Dr Arif Alvi also spoke on the occasion.