Imran builds tempo for his long march

Former PM says families of army personnel will march with him to Islamabad

​ Our Correspondents May 18, 2022
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan addressing a rally in Gujranwala. SCREENGRAB


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed that families of army personnel will also join him on his march towards Islamabad to topple the "imported government that came to power through a US-backed conspiracy".

The former prime minister claimed that police officials will also send their families with the participants of the long march to the federal capital.

"Not only the police officials. The families of government servants will also be joining. I also know that the family of my army will also be coming with us, God willing," the ousted premier said while addressing a rally in Gujranwala.

The rally was part of the PTI’s struggle for achieving “real freedom” and delivering the nation from the “slavery” of the “US-backed” coalition government. Imran, who is training his guns on the new dispensation – an assemblage of political parties that muscled him out from power through a vote of no confidence last month – plans to force the government to announce polls through his ‘Azadi March’.

The PTI chairman also took the opportunity to hail the Supreme Court's decision in presidential reference for leaving many people “red-faced”.

"I want to pay tribute to Supreme Court because it has gotten rid of some people. Supreme Court not only got rid of them but also embarrassed them," Imran told the large gathering.

Emboldened by the apex court’s decision, he claimed that since the apex court’s decision might soon result in the removal of Hamza Shehbaz from the post of the chief minister, the PTI supporters will not face trouble from the Punjab police.

"No one was expecting that people will spill onto the streets after my ouster, he said.

“I want you to come to Islamabad for two reasons One is because of the US conspiracy. Secondly, to get rid of these criminals who have been imposed upon us,” he told his supporters.

The PTI chief said that Pakistan's industries flourished under his government's tenure and most industries were established in Pakistan after former president Ayub Khan's era.

"The entire world was under pandemic. India's economy was in ruin. During that time we saved our people from coronavirus as well as from poverty. We collected the most tax in the history of Pakistan. We reduced the price of petrol and diesel," he added.

Imran Khan said his government was removed from power because Pakistan was achieving economic prosperity. "We were on the rise but these dacoits brought the government down with the help of US," he added.

"When our nation was heading towards prosperity they (current government) toppled our government. Shehbaz Sharif polished the shoes of American ambassadors. Once Maryam Nawaz invited an American ambassador and the way she acted towards her, she might as well have let her walk on her."

Read more: Votes of defectors will not be counted, rules SC

Imran also said that Pakistan's biggest thieves and mafia leaders have banded together but thanked the Almighty as the nation has risen and stood up against them. "These mafias that suck the blood of the nation will receive their comeuppance," he added.

Lashing out at former president Asif Ali Zardari, Imran Khan said that Zardari was Pakistan's biggest beemari (disease). "Zardari was happy that all the abuses are being hurdled at Shehbaz. Asif Zardari is the biggest beemari for this nation. He's enjoying being in the Centre as well as in Sindh and making money. Zardari, you're too much for Shehbaz."

The former prime minister said that the Sharif brothers are stuck and don't know what to do. "They have the ocean in front of them and behind them, they see Imran Khan along with the entire nation.... what can they do? they're stuck," he said and added that there will be an ocean of people in Islamabad soon which will bring an end to the current government's rule.

"People ask Shehbaz Sharif what he has done? Why was he in a hurry to become prime minister? Because he had a case and was about to be punished by the FIA. So he used a foreign conspiracy to evade punishment. Shehbaz doesn't be delusional, we will not let you go," he added.

"Someone asked me who was involved in bringing your government down, I said all of them... they needed a collective effort to bring me down but don't care about the premiership because my nation has risen."

"Remember when we become a nation that is united then we won't face any difficulty and we will be able to pay off our debts. We will make Pakistan thrive. When I came into politics 26 years ago I promised that I will never let Pakistan bow before to anyone."

He said that the nation will become what Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal intended it to be. "We won't bow before anyone except God. We will not bow before any superpower," he added.

‘Ending slavery forever’

Separately, the former prime minister continued to dial up his determination to deliver the country from the “slavery of the US” along with “burying the thieves” forever to make the country stand on its feet again.

Addressing a lawyer’s convention at Aiwan-e-Iqbal in Lahore, where thousands of lawyers were present, Imran urged the lawyers to move to the courts and pose one question: “If robbery and corruption are allowed then why are poor masses languishing in jails for committing the same?”

He asked whether it was fair to intimidate the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), alleging that PM Shehbaz was trying to interfere in the agency’s corruption cases initiated against him and his family members.

He also invited the legal fraternity to start what he called a “Jihad” for the survival of this country.

“The lawyers I have a need of your support to make this movement successful adding those countries where you see rule of law you will find them running on the track of progress”.

“It has been clearly mentioned in Holy Quran that one of the objectives behind our existence on earth is to ensure the provision of justice,” he emphasised.






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