Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday hit out at the beleaguered Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), saying that “like pharaoh, Altaf Hussain’s time is up”. Speaking at a public rally in Mirpur, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), he also promised to stage a huge rally in Karachi in order to ‘defeat Altaf Hussain’.
Referring to the turnout at MQM’s functions, Imran claimed that the party forced the people of Karachi to show up and listen to Altaf’s telephone addresses. “It’s time for the people of Karachi to stop living in fear,” he said. “We have to fight against the prevalent fear and liberate the country from cruel rulers and the corrupt elite.”
The PTI chairman also claimed that he had broken the ‘partnership’ between Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari to bring a change in the country. He alleged that Nawaz and Zardari had amassed more than $4.3 billion in foreign banks. “Both the PML-N and the PPP have been robbing the country and their leaders are making money and building properties abroad.”
Imran predicted that 2015 would be the year of new general elections. “We shall prove before the judicial commission that the 2013 elections were rigged,” he said. All parliamentary parties, except the MQM, lent their support to the prime minister at a huddle on Tuesday for a judicial probe into the alleged vote fraud. And the government is all set to promulgate an ordinance to pave way for a judicial commission for this purpose.
The PTI chairman asked the people of AJK to ‘wake up’ and snatch their rights. “Both Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari are taking turns to rule the country while every Pakistan is being crushed under the burden of foreign debts,” he said. “We also want to bring a change in AJK to defeat the corrupt politicians who are bleeding the people dry.”
Referring to supermodel Ayyan Ali, who was recently arrested by Customs officials for attempting to smuggle $500,000 to Dubai, Imran asked who had provided her with the money.
The Mirpur rally was organised in connection with the AJK by-polls scheduled to be held on March 29. PTI’s AJK President Barrister Sultan Mehmood is contesting the by-election from the LA-3 Mirpur constituency against Chaudhry Ashraf of the PPP and Arshad Ghazi of the ruling PML-N. Imran advised the people against voting for the politicians who have assets in foreign countries.
The PTI chairman also condemned the police crackdown on farmers in Lahore, accusing the Sharif brothers of wanting to crush the farming community of the country.
Terming the PTI chief’s remarks against Altaf Hussain a ‘threat’, MQM’s Rabita Committee said Imran was dreaming of taking over Karachi with the support of the establishment.
On the one hand the PTI chairman said his rally reminded him of MQM’s rallies, but on the other, he said people were forced to attend MQM’s rallies, the Rabita Committee said in a statement. “Imran Khan has no sympathy for the Kashmiri people,” it said. “Instead of talking about their issues, he opted for cheap publicity by bad-mouthing a political leader.”
Federal Information Minister Senator Pervaiz Rashid also criticised the PTI chairman saying that a “person cannot be called a leader if he fails to stick to his stand”.
In a statement, Rashid said the nation was tired of Imran’s frequent U-turns. Imran failed to prove rigging allegations against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif instead his own deceptive face has been exposed before the public.
“Those who call Altaf Hussain a pharaoh sit at his feet and beg for support for their own interests,” he said. He added that Imran must remember that he has played his innings, which was over now, and now he was just dreaming about general elections all the time.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 26th, 2015.