The appointment of a new prime minister, following Yousaf Raza Gilani’s disqualification, will not change the course of national politics, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman said on Thursday, while calling for free and fair elections.
“The new prime minister will be another manservant of [President Asif Ali] Zardari, planted just to protect his property of Rs6 billion in the Swiss banks,” said Imran Khan upon his arrival at Karachi Airport.
Over the years, the PTI chief says, political parties have failed to deliver.
“The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has been in power five times but if you ask the people of Punjab, they believe the government of [former president Pervez Musharraf] was better.”
However, according to Imran, the fall of Gilani is a landmark in the country’s history and a decision that the masses should rejoice in.
“In the past, only the poor and weak were tried in our courts, but this event has changed the course of history,” he said.
Imran denounced the attack on the Karachi protest that his party had organised in favour of the judiciary. “It was Pakistan Peoples Party’s attack on our peaceful protesters that we strongly condemn,” he said.
Imran is in Sindh for a three-day visit to address a rally in Hyderabad today and to “interact with local Sindhis”. The party chief will start his campaign from Hyderabad, moving on to Sanghar and then back to Karachi for fund-raising activities continuing till June 24.
Following its show of strength in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI is now eyeing rural Sindh. The rally in Hyderabad will be Imran’s first on-the-ground visit to Sindh after the party rose to considerable fame, and in many respects, the PTI’s first serious attempt at winning votes in the province.
“PTI has come to make relations with the ordinary people of Sindh and not with the elected Pharaohs,” Khan said, while addressing a banquet organised by the Sindh Taraqi Pasand party at the STP House Wednesday night.
“The injustice done to the poor and weak people in Sindh is not seen in any other province of Pakistan,” Khan said
Organisers claim that 25,000 chairs have been arranged at the SRTC ground.
For observers, the PTI has scarce support in the province to count on. Unlike heavyweights such as PTI leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi and Javed Hashmi from Punjab, there are no significant leaders who have joined the PTI from Sindh.
However, PTI President Sindh Sardar Nadir Leghari said there is immense hope that the people of Sindh are as much in need of an alternative as those in other parts of the country. The party is trying to attract nationalist leaders to fill in the gaps, he added.
According to Leghari, Khan’s visit is going to add immense value to the campaign in Sindh.
The provincial president further said that the PTI has also initiated the Insaf Sindh Yakjehti Forum, a platform to discuss and identify core issues in Sindh, which will engage people with the party and help leaders visualise problems that face the province.
WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY Z ALI IN HYDERABAD
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2012.
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