Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has warned the PML-N government of intensifying street agitation if judicial commission is not constituted within 48 hours. He was addressing a PTI protest rally in front of the Punjab Assembly here on Monday.
This protest is part of party’s ‘Plan C’ that Imran had announced to shutdown major cities followed by a nationwide shutdown to pressurise the government into accepting his party’s demand for an independent audit of the May 2013 elections. A large number of PTI supporters gathered at Faisal Chowk to welcome their leader. Imran Khan was accompanied by PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmad.
Addressing a charged crowd, the PTI chief said today the people of Lahore have proven that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif won the May 2013 general elections through vote rigging. He gave two ‘options’ to the ruling party: either set up the judicial commission immediately or be ready to face the wrath of masses, which will not allow the government to function.
While thanking his supporters for a successful shutdown of the provincial capital, he said they have shown a commitment to fight against injustice. He said Lahore has given a clear verdict of rejecting the 2013 general elections, which were rigged by Nawaz Sharif. He also thanked traders, lawyers, transporters and people from all walks of life for extending full support to his one-day showdown in Lahore.
“We have waited for over one year to seek justice and we are still struggling for it. The government should show commitment in making talks meaningful; the PTI will not back out from its demand of an independent audit of the May 2013 elections. We are a democratic party and only want free and fair election,” he added.
According to him, the nation has woken up, and they only demand justice and a ‘new Pakistan’. The people have decided to replace a corrupt system with a new system that ensures transparency and justice. Moreover, the PTI has been very peaceful in its protests and it will not back off without getting justice. He has his next plan ready if vote rigging allegations are not investigated.
Attacking Asif Ali Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, Imran reiterated that he is well aware of the “status quo parties” and vowed to hold both the leaders accountable for their “wrongdoings” and bring back the money that they have stashed away in foreign countries.
He also came hard on former Punjab Law Minister and senior PML-N leader Rana Sanaullah. He demanded his arrest over a PTI activist’s death in Faisalabad. He said had he been arrested after the Model Town tragedy, Haq Nawaz would have been alive today.
He observed that had the people of Pakistan stood up against vote rigging, he would not have been standing here to protest. Imran also vowed that if allegations of rigging are proved then he will make Nawaz Sharif pay all the debts he had drawn during his tenure in power, as under the circumstances he would not have the mandate to take such decisions.
PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his brief address said if anybody still thinks he is enjoying support of the majority of the people then he should not desist from opening up the ballots for a recount. He said Imran Khan has come in to the field and Lahore has given its verdict in favour of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and bid farewell to Nawaz Sharif. Awami Muslim League Chairman Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed saluted the citizen of Lahore for presenting “such a powerful show”. He said no power can stand in front of the masses. He also said when Lahore is awake, no dictator or tyrant can stand any more. He said if the rulers did not accept the demand of people then this huge crowd can also go to Jati Umra on the call of Imran Khan.
The rally of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf was participated by a large number of women as per tradition. However, an incident ruined the mood of the women participants when some unidentified youth misbehaved with PTI’s female supporters standing near Shah Din Building. Some of the women participants replied to these hooligans by a stick charge and later left the place in protest. Nevertheless, PTI leaders said that those who misbehaved with women were not PTI workers; rather those were some unscrupulous elements sent by their political opponents.
Similarly, PTI workers also misbehaved with a female reporter of a private television channel and also pelted its male reporters with stones, causing injuries to one of their senior staff members covering the rally. Imran Khan had to start his speech by directing his workers not to misbehave with woman workers or media persons whom he termed “tigers and tigresses” of media. He said his party could not achieve objective of this marathon protest without the support of media persons. However, he warned the owner of a private channel to refrain from projecting and supporting the rulers and airing negative things against his party.
AFP adds: Supporters of the party of Pakistan’s Imran Khan shut down major roads of Lahore on Monday in the latest round of protests against the government. Thousands of followers of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) gathered at different junctions on major roads in the city and burned tyres, forcing the suspension of public transport.
Khan claims the 2013 general election which brought Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to power was rigged. He wants Sharif, whose power base lies in Lahore, to resign. Local and foreign observers, however, have rated the polls as credible.
The Punjab provincial government, which is run by Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-N party, accused Khan’s supporters of reneging on an agreement to let ambulances through their barricades. A doctor in Lahore children’s hospital said they received a body of a newborn baby but the cause of death was not clear. PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi denied the allegations, insisting that party workers had not stopped ambulances taking patients to hospitals.
Thousands of police were on the streets to try to prevent violence, following clashes at a similar protest in the city of Faisalabad last week. “A contingent of 15,000 police personnel have been deployed in the city to avoid any untoward incident,” senior police official Haider Ashraf told AFP. Khan has vowed to paralyse major cities around the country as part of his efforts to topple Sharif’s government.
A lengthy sit-in protest outside the parliament building in Islamabad in late August and early September led to brief violent clashes and destabilised Sharif’s government. Khan has said he and his supporters will paralyse the country on December 18 if their demands are not met.
SOURCE: RECORDER REPORT/AFP