KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan with attendance of hundreds of thousands of people from Karachi and other districts of Sindh assured that more rooms are being constructed in Adiala Jail to house corrupt politicians.
With his usual mix of rhetoric, emotions and a few well-placed jibes, all set to a catchy soundtrack he said that he was competing against the mafia and not politicians. The cricketer-turned-politician was addressing a political procession at Bagh-e-Jinnah during his election campaign for the July 25 polls.
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A huge stage of 51 containers which was 200-feet long and 60-feet wide was created by the party. Party’s spokesperson Imran Ismail boasted of the presence of 0.5 million crowd and before the arrival of Khan, the procession witnessed mismanagement as several party supporters thronged the area separated for women and police baton charged to disperse the crowd.
Taking a dig at the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Khan said, “Zardari mafia has been ruling different parts of Sindh. The houses around Bilawal House were forcefully evacuated."
Khan started his speech by offering condolence to PTI leader Ikramullah Khan Gandapur who succumbed to injuries sustained in a suicide attack targeting the PK-99 candidate’s convoy in the outskirts of Dera Ismail Khan on Sunday.
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“His brother was also PTI’s minister who was also martyred,” Khan recalled repeating his old rhetoric that the country is engulfed in terrorism because they brought someone else’s fight in our Pakistan. “If we’re elected I promise Pakistan won’t be used for the benefits of any other country,” he said. “Our foreign policy will be for the people of Pakistan.”
During his speech, he also clarified that army wasn’t behind his party’s popularity. This, according to him, is the conspiracy hatched by international media and establishment. The other political parties, he said, are habitual of playing under one-sided umpire, “but we play under the neutral umpire,” he said adding that those who defeated them through rigging in last elections are blaming army for the pre-poll rigging.
Khan also apologised to the people of Sindh for not delivering the way he should have and failing to come up with a proper party structure in the province. “It was all because there was an environment of fear because of MQM,” he said. “It was difficult to bring clean people into the party back then.
Meanwhile, Khan further said Karachi has the most educated people in Pakistan. “All political movements used to initiate from the port city,” he said and assured that he would resolve the water woes of this city by managing the water distribution properly.
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On July 25, he asked people to vote for the ideology not the faces. He acknowledged to have fielded not very strong candidates in Sindh, especially in Karachi, “but you need to vote the ideology. If you miss this chance you won’t get it back,” he said, adding that in Sindh there are certain areas which are worse than 5000-year-old Moenjodaro.
Lashing out at PML-N, Khan claimed that Punjab was forcefully occupied by the Sharif family. “Abid ‘Boxer’ accepted that Shehbaz [Sharif] used to encourage him to engage in extrajudicial killings,” he alleged, adding that the Sharif family laundered money and took the country's money abroad. Khan’s crowd was, however, not as much energetic and charged-up as it used to be before general elections 2013.
While addressing media upon arrival in Karachi, he remarked that the party reserves the right to put forward its manifesto while campaigning. "Those who rigged elections last time are crying foul now,” he said adding that the forthcoming general election 2018 will prove to be historical. He shared that he held rallies in Bannu and Karak despite facing threats to life.