ISLAMABAD: Unmoved by criticism over his plans to cripple life in the federal capital as part of his accountability movement, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Monday announced November 2 as the new date for his proposed protest as he warned the government of dire consequences if it resorted to 'unfair' means to disrupt his sit-in.
“Currently, we are demanding of the Prime Minister [Nawaz Sharif] to resign or present himself for accountability [in the wake of Panama Papers revelations]. But if the government opts for torture or arrests or other unfair means then the PTI will make every effort to overthrow the current corrupt regime,” Imran Khan told a press conference at his Bani Gala residence.
Unveiling his party’s plans for the much-hyped protest movement – starting from November 2 rather than the previously announced date of October 30 – Imran Khan said the sit-in would continue until the prime minister resigns or presents himself for accountability.
He said the date has been changed on the request of the lawyers’ fraternity, as annual elections of the Supreme Court Bar Association are scheduled to be held on October 31.
The decision was taken during a meeting of the party’s senior leadership at Bani Gala. It was decided that in the coming days, the PTI chief will visit some 10 districts of Punjab, in the first phase, and address workers conventions in a bid to mobilise the masses for the final showdown.
“I warn you that the PTI has nothing to lose, as we are the opposition,” Imran said, while referring to some ‘credible information’ he had received about governmental plan to disrupt the protest.
“We are ready for the worst possible scenario. I am ready to go to jail but are they [government] ready to face the consequences of such a move,” Imran questioned, while assuring that the protest would be completely peaceful.
The PTI chief came down hard on former president Asif Ali Zardari and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman as well as parliament and state institutions.
To a question about the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) chief Bilawal Bhutto’s Sunday’s announcement to hold a long march on December 28, Imran said the announcement was a continuation of time-buying tactics of the government and its friendly opposition, the PPP, over Panama Papers issue.
“During the last six months, the PTI tried to take them [opposition] along. But they always dodged us. The PTI has reached a conclusion that other opposition parties are not interested to hold the corrupt accountable,” he said, adding that Nawaz and Zardari were on same page over Panamagate issue.
Imran called upon the activists of other opposition parties, labourers, farmers, unemployed youth, and every single Pakistani to join hands with the PTI on November 2, claiming that it would be a now or never situation in Pakistani politics.
He said residents of Islamabad would have to suffer due to lockdown of the city but they should sacrifice a little to save their future generations from the slavery of corrupt rulers.
“During the last six months, the nation witnessed the approach of the parliament, the Election Commission of Pakistan, the Federal Board of Revenue, the National Accountability Bureau and other institutions. Our PM was caught red-handed but all they are trying to save his corruption,” he claimed.
To a question, Imran said the venue of the sit-in would be between Faizabad and Zero-Point on Islamabad Expressway.
Referring to Maulana Fazlur Rehman speech in Balochistan on Sunday, Imran said every corrupt person of the country is siding with the PM Nawaz. “Every single person standing with Nawaz is corrupt,” he said, while appealing his party workers to give at least Rs100 in party fund to make arrangements for the protest.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 18th, 2016.
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