LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan promised on Sunday to rid the country of debt and begging bowl, make all Pakistanis one nation and increase the education budget five-fold.
Speaking at a convention in Lahore and public meetings in Faisalabad, Chiniot, Jhang, Khushab and Toba Tek Singh, he said Pakistanis living in the country and abroad were not willing to donate for the welfare of the state because of absence of credible leadership.
Claiming to have a credible reputation manifested in the shape of the Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital, he said he could do the miracle of collecting so much funds from Pakistanis within a year that the country would no more need foreign loans.
He said nations were known for justice and fairness and not for roads and other development works. Justice gave people a sense of security for their lives and property, he said.
The PTI chairman said people must not lose hope and should remember the examples of Japan and Germany which had rebuilt themselves within a decade after suffering widespread destruction in the Second World War.
“Our homeland has all the required resources but so far lacks a competent leadership. When this leadership comes into power it will join the ranks of developed countries.”
He said the country was facing shortage of energy and water, factories were lying closed and workers were dying of hunger, although at least 50,000MW of cheap hydroelectric power could have been generated.
The option was ignored because those who mattered wished to mint money through rental power projects, he alleged.
The PTI chief said a new Pakistan would emerge and the nation would prosper the day people would hold the “thieves” accountable instead of sending them again to parliament and assemblies.
He expressed hope that people would teach a lesson to the power hungry parties and their candidates by casting votes along with their families for the PTI.
He said people would reject the candidates who were responsible for destroying peace by adopting the agenda of extremists.
He said former chief minister Shahbaz Sharif had enjoyed a five-year term and protected some favoured bureaucrats. Nothing changed in the province. He said the condition of people had worsened; thousands of them had been killed and many more kidnapped but the Punjab police officials were on the security duty of the Sharif family which had cost the national exchequer Rs2 billion in five years.
He stressed that the youngsters should extend their political activities and ensure that they and their families, especially women, went to the polling stations.
If voted to power the PTI would enhance five-fold the education budget and introduce a uniform policy for all students and institutions, he said.
Mr Khan said local bodies’ elections would be held within 90 days, powers would be transferred to the grassroots level and the masses would be rid of the corrupt patwari system.
He said the poor would be provided free and easy access to justice‚ education and health facilities.
In Toba Tek Singh, police opened only one of the four gates of the venue of a public meeting for participants. They also misbehaved with media personnel and PTI worker Mohammad Bilal was thrashed near the stadium.
Speaking in Chiniot, the PTI chairman said his opponents were worried about his popularity and making false allegations about his religious orientation.
He said he knew how to break the partnership of the PPP and PML-N in the elections and called on the youths and children to help voters reach the polling stations and persuade them to vote for the PTI.
He said the Sharifs were notorious for buying politicians and judges but they could not buy the youths.