Imran vows to stand by ‘haqeeqi azadi’ stance

PTI launches 11-day campaign ‘Hold elections, save the country’ in Lahore from today


Our Correspondent December 07, 2022
Photo: AFP

LAHORE:

PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan on Tuesday vowed that there would never be any compromise on the people’s ideology of “haqeeqi azadi (true freedom)”, adding that he would take the “next step” if the holding of “transparent elections” is delayed by the incumbent government.

Addressing a delegation of young journalists, social media influencers and YouTubers in Lahore, the PTI chief deliberated on the country's political situation, restrictions on media and freedom of speech and violations of human rights.

“I am standing for the real freedom of the nation. People are fighting with me against the dictatorial set-up,” he said.

“We will take the next step if [the incumbent government] postpones the holding of fair and transparent election,” he added.

Separately, the PTI chairman took a dig at the PML-N led government, saying corruption cases amounting to Rs1,100 billion were being given “immunity” under “NRO-2” and termed it a “daylight robbery”.

The term NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) is a reference to a relief given by former military dictator Gen Pervez Musharraf to the PPP in 2007 after which cases registered against politicians and others had been quashed.

In a tacit reference to the PML-N and the PPP, Imran tweeted, “NRO 1 cost this nation dearly. The loot & plunder of these two crooked families & their associates increased our debt four times in ten years”.

“NRO-2 is even more shameful. Rs1100 billion corruption cases are being given immunity. Daylight robbery!” the PTI chief continued.

Imran had warned that the recent amendment in the NAB legislation would nip a hefty sum of Rs1,100 billion off the bureau’s jurisdiction, giving the “criminal mafia NRO-2”.

Under the amendment to the NAB law by the incumbent government, corruption cases involving an amount below Rs500 million do not fall within the purview of the anti-graft watchdog.

In another tweet, the PTI chairman condemned the government for sealing the Centaurs Mall in the federal capital, owned by Azad and Jammu Kashmir Prime Minister Sardar Tanveer Ilyas.

He said that the sealing of the mall by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) “mafia” in response to the AJK PM censuring Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for not mentioning the sacrifices of the Kashmiris in his speech showed that “there is a law of the jungle in Pakistan for the last eight months”.

Also read: Will dissolve Punjab, K-P assemblies this month: Imran

Imran said the move “also sends a negative signal to the Kashmiris” and posed a question for the country’s judges if they were indeed the “upholders of the law”.

Earlier in the day, Centaurus Mall was sealed over alleged violations of building regulations after six notices were issued to the management.

Meanwhile, the PTI announced an 11-day “Hold elections, save the country” movement from Wednesday (today) in Lahore in a bid to force the PML-N led government to hold immediate polls in the country.

PTI parliamentarians will lead protest rallies in their constituencies till December 17.

Punjab government’s spokesperson and PTI leader Mussarat Jamshed Cheema maintained that the movement was being launched on the directions of PTI Chairman and former premier Imran Khan.

She said the drive would kick off from PTI Central Punjab General Secretary Hammad Azhar's constituency (NA 126) in the provincial capital on December 7 (today).

The second rally will be held on December 8 in Malik Karamat Khokhar constituency (NA-135), and subsequently, protests will be held in Shafqat Mehmood's constituency (NA-130) on December 9, Mian Aslam Iqbal’s constituency (PP-151) on December 10, Mian Akram Usman’s constituency (PP-158) on December 11, Nadeem Abbas Bara’s constituency (PP-161) on December 12, Shabbir Gujjar’s constituency (PP-167) on December 13, Murad Ras’ constituency (PP-159) on December 14, Zaheer Abbas Khokhar's constituency (PP-170) on December 15, Sarfaraz Khokhar’s constituency (PP-173) on December 16 and Mian Mehmoodur Rashid’s constituency (PP-160) on December 17.

Mussarat highlighted that on December 19 or 20, a protest rally would be held at Liberty Chowk Lahore against the “imported government”.

“In 11 days, the rallies will make only one demand, ‘save the economy from bankruptcy by holding immediate elections,’” she said.

The PTI leader said that the decision to hold rallies was taken on December 5 in a meeting presided over by the PTI chief.

Meanwhile, PTI provincial legislators from Kasur, Nankana Sahib and Sheikhupura held a meeting with the former premier and deliberated on the country’s political situation, PTI’s political strategy and the preparations for the elections. The PTI central and regional leaders also attended the meeting.

On this occasion, the lawmakers backed the PTI chairman’s decision to dissolve the Punjab Assembly and extended full support to him.

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