- Imran says being blackmailed for speaking on Panama Papers
- Says Pakistan will only prosper if corruption is rooted out, police are depoliticised
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has yet to respond to corruption allegations levelled on him in the wake of Panama Leaks, asserting that the purpose of his party’s accountability rally is the formation of naya Pakistan (new Pakistan).
Addressing participants of the rally at Liaquat Bagh, Khan warned PM Sharif to make his move before the PTI rally heads to Lahore in the next phase or he won’t t have time to leave for Jeddah.
He said his party was seeking a response from the prime minister for the past five months when the Panama Papers revealed Nawaz Sharif and his two sons and daughter owned offshore companies.
The PTI chief said Pakistan would only prosper if corruption was rooted out and the police department was depoliticised in order to deliver justice to the common man. “Nations do not progress through roads or bus projects, but through universities and stronger state institutions,” he added.
Earlier, the PTI chief, while addressing a group of reporters in Bani Gala before taking part in the rally, said the party’s protest had entered a decisive phase now and it should not back out at this moment.
Khan said that peaceful protest was his party’s right, adding that the country’s institutions, including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), were unable to deliver. He also wished the Supreme Court had taken notice of the Panama Leaks issue.
Khan said no response was given by the government over the corruption allegations; rather the PTI was being blackmailed for speaking about the Panama Papers.
He also asked why the government was not doing anything to bring back the $60 million allegedly stashed away by former president Asif Ali Zardari.
The PTI chief said the rally shall head to Lahore in the next phase of the accountability movement. He also said the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had provided immense support in the National Assembly (NA). He also alleged that attempts were being made to bribe the opposition.
KHAN ESCAPES ACCIDENT:
During the rally, the PTI chairman escaped accident twice. During the first close encounter, the driver of the truck on top of which Imran and other PTI leaders were standing did not notice a bridge up ahead. The PTI chairman and other leaders had to duck to save them from being hit by the overheard bridge.
The second close call took place at Katchery Chowk when Imran stumbled while trying to scale atop the container.
The cricketer-turned-politician had sustained serious injuries in 2013, when he injured his head and back after falling from a lifter to climb on the stage set for a party rally in Lahore.
The PTI rally which started from Peshawar on March 7 reached Rawalpindi a day ahead of August 14 – Pakistan’s Independence Day. The participants of the rally were repeatedly chanting slogans such as “Jeena Hoga Marna Hoga, Dharna Hoga Dharna Hoga” and “go Nawaz go”, one of the most popular slogans from PTI’s 2014 sit-in in Islamabad.
Sitting atop the container which he shared with Shah Mehmood Qureshi, former Punjab governor Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar, Jehangir Tareen and other stalwarts of his party, Imran Khan was leading the rally himself.
The rally would take the route of Katchery Chowk, Liaquat Bagh, Committee Chowk, Shah Di Talian and Rehmanabad before entering Islamabad.
The PTI rally attracted a huge number of people from all segments of society. Some came on their cars, some on bikes, while others accompanied on foot.
“This time, we won’t leave till we get rid of this corrupt and tyrannical government. Imran Khan is our last hope and we’ll never give up on him,” said Asif Jan who comes from Peshawar.
Another PTI supporter, Bilal Khan of Rawalpindi said, “Imran Khan has come out for people like us, for youth, poor and hapless. I attended PTI’s 2014 dharna for four months. This time around, my friends and I won’t go home until Khan asks us to.”
Nevertheless, fewer women participants were seen in the rally. Perhaps harassment incidents at previous events of the PTI have distanced many female fans from party events.
To sum up, the whole atmosphere of PTI’s accountability rally was upbeat and joyous. The famous Tehreek-e-Insaf Mamoo led a group of young lads in dancing every time DJ Butt played a number. The sellers of PTI badges, caps, shirts and flags also had a field day.