Imran Khan steals Punjab’s heart


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LAHORE – Staging a mega show symbolising return of PTI tsunami in the citadel of the ruling PML-N, Imran Khan has demanded declaring 2013 elections null and void in the light of ECP’s recent post-polls report.

A more-than-ever confidant Imran looked very happy to see hundreds of thousands of his charged supporters as he arrived at Minar-i-Pakistan, the national symbol of independence, where his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf on Sunday had organised a public moot titled ‘Go Nawaz Go’ as part of their Azadi March.
It was a sea of colours with fluttering party flags looking like ocean waves, of cheers and shouts for the hero Imran, and of jeers at the government and PML-N leaders. Women and children – with PTI flags painted on their faces – formed no smaller portion of this enthusiastic crowd that danced to the tunes of party and national songs. If it was about proving PTI’s power in the heart of Punjab, it was clearly a successful show.
In his 55-minute speech, the PTI chairman spoke on the key issue of alleged electoral fraud in 2013 polls, the ruling misconduct of ruling party and its core leadership, and PTI bashing by the opponents, besides making some promises that he would fulfill after coming into power.
The opposition leader, who has been demanding vote verification in certain constituencies for many months, is now on an aggressive anti-government campaign since August 14, the national Independence Day, demanding resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
Repeating his accusation of massive rigging in the last general elections by the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, the PTI chief offered opening the entire election process in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and holding of re-election if irregularities found in it.
Imran demanded the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) upload the details of Form 14 on its website, as he believed it would unveil major irregularities in 2013 elections, warning that the commission would be considered involved in the crime of poll rigging if it did not do the job at the earliest.
He asked the ruling party to open the constituencies which the PTI has identified for rigging probe with stepping down of the PM for the period of the investigation, saying he would make a public apology if the rigging charges are not proved. But if the rigging is found, all the people involved in the crime would be put on trial under Article 6 and fresh elections would be held, he said. Giving rationale of his demand for PM’s quitting the seat, he said a transparent probe was impossible as long as the main accused calls the shots.
“The Election Commission 2013 post-election (review) report vindicated our stance by confirming that polling schemes were changed in the final hours of electoral process to benefit a certain political party, besides printing of ballot papers,” Imran Khan said. Calling former chief justice ‘Mir Jaffar’ of Pakistan, he alleged that Chaudhry Iftikhar was controlling the election process instead of the Election Commission.
Bashing the ruling family and party, he alleged: They are all liars and PTI leader and lawyer Ishaq Khakwani would be appearing before the Supreme Court in a petition concerning prime minister’s lies that he spoke on the floor of the parliament.
“Nawaz Sharif is a habitual liar”, as he lied about the deal with Pervez Musharraf but later the Saudi prince on his visit to Pakistan confirmed a deal had been made between Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf. “He (Nawaz Sharif) had also lied that he didn’t get funds from ISI but former ISI DG General Asad Durrani in an affidavit to the Supreme Court in Mehran Bank scandal confirmed that he gave funds to him.”
Imran said Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari were two sides of the same coin and both the corrupt were supporting each other to save their skin.
He said: “Nawaz Sharif is the product of the nursery of the late General Zia. I draw my strength from the people of Pakistan and not the ISI or any other organ of the establishment.”
He said: The ruling party should read writing on the wall by keeping in mind the events of protests against Nawaz Sharif outside the UN, show of public wrath at a Hamza Shahbaz Sharif’s public meeting and ‘Go Nawaz Go’ slogans when the provincial chief executive visited the flood-hit areas.
“I have been on a struggle for the last 18 years to mobilise the people to rise against the injustices and finally I have succeeded today as I have never seen such a massive crowd in Lahore in my entire life as I am witnessing today at the gardens of Minar-i-Pakistan,” Imran said.
The PTI chairman, challenging the PML-N, said, “If the ruling party is really popular it should pull a crowd that is even 10 percent of this gathering and I will even ask Pervaiz Khattak to send patwaris and other employees to assist the ruling party in this regard.”
Imran claimed: PTI team under his command is ready to give a tough time to the forces of so-called democracy anytime. “Now I wish that the PML-N government should stay in power for some more time as it will help my campaign to reach each corner of the country.”
Imran said: “I will not end the Islamabad sit-in till the resignation of Nawaz Sharif and I will continue holding public meeting in other cities.” He announced that the next public meeting will be held in Mianwali on October 2 (Thursday), to be followed by another moot in Multan.
He asked the participants of the public meeting to make four pledges with him for making a new Pakistan that: (i) They will always stand by the truth; (ii) They will be brave enough to confront injustices; (iii) They will take care of the downtrodden; (iv) And they will always support the justice.
The PTI chief said: “I will bring uniform education system upon coming into power as denying equal education opportunities is the first step of injustice. I will make efforts to end the miseries of 110 million Pakistanis living below the poverty line. I will demolish the prime minister, chief minister and governor houses and make public libraries, colleges and public parks for the people, and the government functionaries would live a simple life. I will introduce a justice system which guarantees the rights of all the classes and ensure nobody could evade the justice.”
Imran Khan remarked that Dr Aafia Siddiqui would not have been in the hands of the Americans if justice existed in Pakistan. The uncle of Dr Aafia met me and told that her niece along with her three small children was handed over to the Americans (by Pakistani authorities). There would be no missing persons if there is justice in the country, he added.
Imran Khan once again asked the people not to deposit their electricity bills as the government was neither reducing loadshedding nor electricity tariff. Other senior PTI leaders who spoke on the occasion included Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Pervaiz Khattak, Jahangir Khan Tareen, Ijaz Chaudhry and Asad Umer. Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed also spoke.

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usman hashmi

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