HYDERABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan set off his two-day visit in Sindh on Thursday, challenging Pakistan Peoples Party Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari at a rally in the latter's hometown, Nawabshah.
In a short speech before thousands of supporters, Khan reiterated that Zardari will soon meet the fate of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.
"One [Sharif] is wandering [in Punjab] asking ‘mujhe kiyoon nikala [why was I ousted]. Soon Zardari you will also start questioning ‘mujhe kiyoon nikala aur kiyoon phir se jail main dala’ [why was I ousted and imprisoned once again]."
He termed the PPP's co-chairman an illness which has made Sindh and its people suffer endlessly, adding Sharif is a similar illness for the people of Punjab.
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Khan told the crowd that he has started his Sindh visit from Nawabshah to throw down the gauntlet to Zardari. "I will be among the people of Sindh for 48 hours. I will show you how I challenge both the frauds in Punjab and Sindh."
He alleged that Zardari and Sharif have killed, imprisoned and assaulted people for the sake of power. He added that they unleashed cruelty over the weak and occupied agricultural lands of the farmers.
"The people [in Sindh] know well about who owns sugar mills," Khan said, implying Zardari's reported ownership of the mills.
Drawing a parallel between Zardari and MNA Capt (retd) Safdar Hussain, the PTI's chief taunted that Zardari is the same for the Bhutto family as Hussain is for the Sharif family. "But, by the way, Sharifs have no comparison with [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto."
Khan claimed that the people of Sindh, especially the rural inhabitants, lag behind all Pakistanis living in other provinces in the quality of life which they live.
"The cruelty meted out to Sindh can't be seen in other provinces. I have been to Balochistan recently but even there poverty and the situation is unlike in Sindh."
However, he concluded his speech with an augury of good days ahead as he promised that the long dark night will soon end and a new morning is on the horizon. The PTI's leader asked the people to stop worrying as a new Pakistan is being created.
Amir Liaquat Hussain, television anchor and former leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement who recently joined the PTI, said his party is against division of Sindh.
"The PTI will oppose any person who commits treason with Sindh. Sindhis and Urdu speaking people are Sindhis and no one can divide Sindh."
The PTI's leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Dr Arif Alvi, Ameer Bux Bhutto, Imran Ismail and others accompanied Khan.
Meanwhile, Khan, rejecting the government's tax amnesty scheme, warned of initiating probe against the beneficiaries if the PTI formed the government after 2018 elections.
"God willing, we will come to power in 2018 ... the people who benefit from this scheme by whitening their black money will be investigated," he announced at a rally in Khipro, Sanghar district, on Thursday evening.
The PM at a press conference in Islamabad earlier on Thursday announced a five-point tax amendment policy, featuring the amnesty scheme under which minor penalties will be levied on the tax evaders. "What good has come out of similar schemes given by the PPP [Pakistan Peoples Party] and PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz] governments in the past?" Khan questioned.
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He said only around seven weeks are left before the federal government completes its tenure and asked the PM to justify his tax policy. Khan argued that genuine and honest tax-payers will suffer from the scheme while corrupt elements and tax evaders will take the maximum advantage.
"Instead of paying tribute to honest tax-payers, their honesty will be punished."
Khan reiterated that if the PTI came to power his government will undo the scheme and hold its beneficiaries accountable.
He told the people to compare his party's performance in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa against the PPP's in Sindh on four counts: education, health, local government and the police service. Khan claimed that the KPK's police and the LG systems are the best models produced so far in Pakistan's history.
Dedicating half of his speech's time to compare the Sindh and K-P police forces, Khan said the former is being used to maintain the political control of the PPP in Sindh while the latter is completely independent of all influences. "If we formed the government [in Sindh] I assure you that the first thing which I am going to improve is the police," he pledged.
The PTI's leaders Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Dr Arif Alvi and other leaders also spoke.
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