Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said thieves cannot hold other thieves accountable after an accountability court acquitted Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari in the SGS-Cotecna case this week.
“It was your [Pakistanis] money that he has escaped with. I ask how many people came out of their homes to protest against this?” Imran asked as he addressed a public gathering at Taramri Chowk, on the outskirts of Islamabad on Friday evening.
He said that due to the growing corruption, each Pakistani was now indebted. He added that these leaders were now preparing their next generation to take turns in ruling the masses. Imran also lashed out at the government, saying the democratic government under Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was worse than the dictatorship of former president General Pervez Musharraf.
“The ruling party has set the worst example of democratic dictatorship.”
He denounced government’s move to restrict him from addressing a public gathering all the while ministers from the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) were participating in election campaigns for the local government polls in Islamabad on November 30.
Ahead of Friday’s public meeting, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had asked the district administration to deny PTI permission for the rally. District Returning Officer (DRO) Chaudhry Aleem Shahab wrote to the district administration two days ago, advising them that parliamentarians were not allowed to address or participate in party meetings, gatherings or rallies in connection with the local government elections in Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).
The district administration had in turn tried to bar Imran from taking part in the public meeting, blocking roads to the venue. However, Imran took back roads and walked through fields to reach the site of the meeting.
“If we have democracy in our country, is it not my right to come to my people and talk to them?” asked Imran.
He assailed the ECP for its apparent double standards in dealing with him and parliamentarians of the ruling party. He pointed towards State Minister for Capital Administration and Development Tariq Fazal Chaudhry, who had participated in a PML-N rally in Islamabad on Thursday, who had not faced any action from the ECP.
The PTI chief further accused Chaudhry of using government machinery and public funds to boost the party’s campaign.
Imran further asked the election commissioner to explain was it fair that he was being stopped from addressing a public meeting while the prime minister announced Rs2.5 billion package in Lodhran.
He also alleged that there was massive rigging in the two rounds of local government elections in Sindh and Punjab.
Alleging that the ECP and the local administration was being used by the incumbent PML-N, he asked why a local holiday had not been announced in Islamabad for Tuesday, being the polling day. However, he expressed confidence that his supporters would come out in droves to vote for PTI candidates.
Later, PTI leader Asad Umar told the media that apparently there were one set of laws for the ruling party and another for everyone else, since PML-N parliamentarians were openly participating in campaigning without any punishment.
ECP to review PTI rally
The ECP has said that it will review whether Imran Khan had violated the election code of conduct.
The district administration had given permission for a corner meeting to PTI. However, when Imran arrived at the venue, the crowd swelled and it became a full-fledged rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2015.
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