Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan upped the ante in his campaign against the government on Friday, placing four key questions before the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and setting a July 27 deadline to answer the same.
He warned the PML-N of an impending ‘tsunami march’ on the federal capital on August 14 if those questions were left unaddressed.
“The government should tell the nation 1.) Who scripted the victory speech of Nawaz Sharif on May 11, 2013; 2.) What was the role of caretaker Punjab chief minister Najam Sethi; 3.) What was the role of the then-chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry; and lastly why returning officers were not present under the Election Commission of Pakistan,” he told a huge public meeting of his party in the South Punjab district of Bahawalpur on Friday.
“If these demands are not fulfilled within a month, or until July 27, then the government should brace for a ‘tsunami march’ on August 14,” he said amid thunderous applause from his supporters. He added that one million PTI supporters – including men, women and children – will attend the march.
Until Friday, the PTI had been calling for recounting of votes in constituencies of the National Assembly where the party claims the 2013 elections were massively rigged. The government, however, didn’t address the concerns. And now Imran said the government has to answer his four questions.
The PTI chief called upon all political parties to join the August 14 ‘tsunami march’ of his party if they believe in one-point agenda.
Imran questioned the legitimacy of the PML-N government which, according to him, came to power through a rigged election. “The victory speech of Nawaz Sharif was aired live at 11:20pm while vote count was still ongoing. However, soon after the speech, results were changed in favour of the PML-N,” he alleged.
The PTI chief also hit out at the former chief justice for, what he called, his role in rigging. “Chief justice sahib, people went to jail for your reinstatement. Unfortunately, I also spent eight days in the DG Khan jail for you. But you sold your conscience for making your son vice chairman of the Balochistan Investment Board,” he said.
Nawaz has said that while the government was endeavouring to put the country on the road to progress, Imran was staging rallies and agitating against alleged rigging. The PTI chief, however, ridiculed this claim, saying public rallies should not stop the government from carrying out development work.
Citing rampant inflation, debilitating power outages and the killing of 12 Pakistan Awami Tehreek workers by police in Lahore, Imran asked if the government would also blame the PTI for this. He added that the PML N came to power in Punjab six times – but the party couldn’t improve the education system nor could it end the ‘thana culture’.
The PTI chief said that he was invited by Nawaz to accompany him on a visit to the IDPs camp in Bannu. “Stop doing politics in the name of IDPs, photo-ops at IDP camps is useless,” he said addressing the premier. “The government has spent/is spending millions of rupees on self-advertising. This money could be given to the IDPs who need it the most.”
Imran said that his party’s government in K-P was not taken into confidence before the launch of the military operation in North Waziristan. “We came to know about the launch of the operation through the media,” he said. This was the reason the provincial government couldn’t make proper arrangements for the IDPs.
“Now the responsibility is being placed on the K-P government,” he said. Imran pointed out that there were already 150,000 IDPs in K-P and 500,000 have been rendered homeless by the operation. “We accept this responsibility. K-P government, my foundation and thousands of Tabdeeli Razakaars (PTI volunteers) will help their brethren from Waziristan.”
He also accused the PML-N government of nepotism. “The Sharif family is occupying all key posts. Nawaz is prime minister, his brother is chief minister, his daughter is managing a loan scheme for youth, one nephew is a proxy CM and another is a state minister. And you call it democracy,” he said.
Citing a report published on their website, he said that during the Nawaz Sharif government from 85 to 92, 25,000 police officials had been recruited bypassing merit and through bribery. Surprisingly, a large number of such police officials were wanted to the police in different crimes.
“Finance Minister Ishaq Dar has admitted that $200 billion of Pakistanis were stashed away in Swiss banks,” Imran said and asked what was stopping the government from bringing this money back to Pakistan. “They are not doing anything to bring back this money because their own black money is stashed abroad.”
Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2014.
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