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PTI Chief Imran Khan. — File Photo by AFP

MANDI BAHAUDDIN: Ali Raza, 22, completed his three-year diploma in civil engineering with specialisation in road construction about two years ago, but he is yet to get a job. He wants change in government because he seeks a level playing field in order to compete for jobs on merit. According to him, no one can land a government job without a strong political reference or enough money to line the pockets of people at the top.

Raza was one of the thousands of young people who had turned up at the cinema ground, in the heart of Mandi Bahauddin, to welcome the chairman of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, for an election rally.

Raza, who will be voting this year for the first time, said: “Like many of my friends I have come from a nearby village to attend the meeting and have a glimpse of Mr Khan who has promised us jobs after coming to power. Yes, my entire family will vote for the PTI.”

When asked about his motivation to attend the rally, Ambar Gill, a local Christian, said he didn’t know much about the PTI or its manifesto, but strongly believed that if given a chance Mr Khan could deliver. “So I will vote for the PTI,” he remarked.

There were many others in the rally who knew nothing about the politics of right or left, but came only to demonstrate their support for Mr Khan whose main slogan is to build ‘naya Pakistan’ (new Pakistan) after winning the May 11 elections.

Talking to Dawn, a group of PTI volunteers who looked after arrangements for the rally, said they had come on their own without any financial support from the party because they wanted to help Mr Khan build a ‘new Pakistan’.

“It seems that PTI’s slogan for change has started picking up momentum,” said Dr Arshad Khan, who runs a clinic near the cinema ground. “Most of the local youth are supporting Mr Khan; let’s see whether their support actually transforms into electoral victory for the PTI candidates in an area traditionally known for voting on caste basis.”

Even though wheat harvesting activities are continuing apace in the area, a large crowd, comprising mainly the youth, had gathered at the venue.

District administration and police officials, who only last week (on April 22) were on duty for a similar election rally addressed by PML-N leader Shahbaz Sharif in Malakwal, one of the three tehsils of Mandi Bahauddin district, told Dawn that the PTI’s meeting had attracted more people.

“Frankly speaking, we weren’t expecting so many people to attend the meeting in an area mainly dominated by Gondals and Tarars,” said a senior police officer present on the occasion.

The officer, who refused to speak on record, said that last year Mr Sharif had addressed a rally as chief minister on the same ground. “That meeting was not as well-attended as this one.”

In the 2008 elections, both the National Assembly seats and five provincial assembly seats in the district were won by the PPP.

The crowd was simply ecstatic when Mr Khan waved from his chopper to the participants of the rally before landing at a nearby helipad from where he was driven to the venue. Encouraged by the crowd, he refused to go behind the bullet-proof rostrum arranged by the local administration for his security. The PTI chief said he was not the one who needed such protection.

Pandering to the crowd, Mr Khan said: “I know many young people from the area have gone abroad in search of jobs. But let me assure you that after May 11 you will have a new Pakistan where you won’t have to leave your country for jobs. The PTI will provide you jobs.”

In his entire speech, Mr Khan mentioned President Asif Ali Zardari only once and mainly targeted PML-N leaders. He said President Zardari had carried out a suicide attack on his own party, destroying the former ruling party to the core. He said the Sharif brothers had ruled in Punjab five times and two times at the centre. Therefore, they should not be given another chance. “How can a party which has repeatedly failed in the past be given another chance?”

The slogan-chanting crowd shouted: “No, no.”

As usual Mr Khan talked about the ongoing energy crisis, local governments, ‘pro-American policies’ of the previous governments and rampant poverty in the country. He said that after coming to power his party would resolve all these issues on an emergency basis.

Later, Mr Khan addressed similar election meetings in Hafizabad and Sargodha, where he again hit out at the PML-N leaders for “misguiding people with their lofty promises”.

Comments (78) Closed

sadiya siddiqui Apr 29, 2013 06:12pm
imran khan is the best. ik is the last hope for us we are fade up of mqm, anp,ppp,ji and pml n
Muhammad Farooq Apr 29, 2013 11:46am
lets hope for the best for the country.
RB Apr 29, 2013 04:32pm
I request to nation to please come out and fix Nawaz and Zardari with wall. Both Nwaz and Zardari are alike. Please please come out and vote for Imran. Imran Khan is the only hope in Pakistan all other politicians are liarz
Imran S Apr 29, 2013 02:43pm
No need to change the system, only needs the implementation of the system.
Ali Ashfaq Apr 29, 2013 11:50am
For the first time in the history of Pakistan, people have a third option this time, which seems to be the right option.
dood Apr 29, 2013 04:29pm
Naya Pakistan does not mean he is going to the market and buy another country. There is nothing wrong with our constitution or country. What we need is to bring in the honest government and everything will change and that will be a Naya Pakistan.
dood Apr 29, 2013 02:42pm
Actually everybody here is talking about our Pakistan and the best choice for it. Fortunately' this time we have a choice and we should do anything and everything to get rid of current corrupt politician and thugs. What Obama says or does has nothing to do with Imran Khan.
Arslan Rasheed Apr 29, 2013 04:51pm
I have also commited to vote PTI. I think a chance have to given him because,he is new commer and we must entrusted him country state of affairs.
Irfan Apr 29, 2013 11:57am
Though im a sri lankan i wish i had a chance to vote for Mr Imran Khan.. May Allah keep him safe forever. Aameen.
Shaukat Apr 29, 2013 06:04pm
Sharif's have been given five chances and failed every single time. Let us give chance to a different party this time.
Combaticus Apr 29, 2013 12:28pm
The most important thing is everyone, the youth especially, has to vote for the person/party they support. Going on websites and making comments and "liking" a comment will have no meaning unless all of the Dawn readers, who are registered voters, use their right to VOTE. This is best thing we can give back to Jinnah's Pakistan.
Ahmed Apr 29, 2013 12:28pm
Imran Khan "Father of New Pakistan"
Fahad Apr 29, 2013 12:30pm
I wish my eyes see Imran Khan as a prime minister for Pakistan for consecutive three or four terms. Ameen.
Tariq Apr 29, 2013 12:01pm
We MUST vote first on 11th May then Allah will help PTI for the sake of Pakistan!
Aleem Apr 29, 2013 04:48pm
PTI is the only hope.
Nadeem Apr 29, 2013 11:03am
Very boring......same things repeated again and again. Nothing will change. and yes obama also promised change ..have you seen any change?.
MA Apr 29, 2013 11:05am
Inshallah on the night 11th May 2013, whole country will celebrate the victory of PTI.
Yousuf (@92yousuf) Apr 29, 2013 12:20pm
Even PTI win the election with simple majority he can not change any system till 3 Years as they are 1/3 of both houses.
M. S. Alvi Apr 29, 2013 04:45pm
I live in America. Yes, we have seen change in America.
Jack Iyer Apr 29, 2013 02:53pm
I hope and pray that may God keep Imran and his follower's safe. Please, Please, Please make sure you all vote and choose the best candidate without anyone's influence. Dear Friends; this is it, as a future of this country; if we do not make the right decision this time; we might not get another chance to correct our mistakes. Each and every leader in this country is corrupt at the extend of second to none and the they think that this is their right to be corrupt. Last chance my friends, let's do not drop the ball this time. Jack
Nadeem Ullah Apr 30, 2013 08:26pm
What kind of experience do you want my dear? He has no experience of corruption but he does have experience of good administration. The problem is, we all are a victim of bad governance and are expecting the same kind of experience.
Atif Khan Apr 29, 2013 04:39pm
Mr. Khan, you have proved your dedication and loyality to your country by doing several monumental charitable feats. I urge you to not lose track, once God-willing you secure a position as a leader of this great nation. With power comes temptation and greed, but I hope you remember that if you are able to turn this nation around you would be leaving a legacy only comparable to the likes of Jinnah. I pray that Allah gives guidance to you and the people of Pakistan to make the right choices during this upcoming elections. I vote for you. Let Pakistan turn a new page in history.
Syed Apr 29, 2013 10:49am
Honestly speaking Imran Khan's manifesto make me and so many other people to come back to Pakistan. Please vote for PTI, we believe in IK and he will not cheat us.
Azmat Shah Apr 29, 2013 01:57pm
@ nadeem, obviously Obama has changed US for the better- for the emerican people at least. Why did the Americans re-elected him if he was not good enough.
M Din Apr 30, 2013 08:59pm
Imran is hope of a new Pakistan, let's make it happen.
surjeet Apr 29, 2013 10:29am
Shaz Apr 29, 2013 01:46pm
Imram Khan is the only best option right now. All others are tested and tested with nagative results always...
M. Asghar Apr 29, 2013 01:43pm
The PTI and Imran can win the elections only by winning them also in the countryside, where the dead weight of the deep rooted and ferocious feudalism is the strongest. The supporting youth must go door to door in the countryside to convince the voters there to vote for their and everbody else's good future.
skeptic Apr 29, 2013 01:38pm
Khan Sb we all know you are brave man but pls be more careful and pragmatic about your security.
concerned212 Apr 29, 2013 01:23pm
We should use our power to VOTE. DOn't sit idle at home. This is our chance to rid the country of shareef's and zardari's and bhutto's. Vote PTI.
Tariq Apr 29, 2013 03:51pm
It really worries me when people ask what did Imran Khan do in the past Sirs and Madams the only service he did is that he served his nation through a great not for profit hospital a state of the art Namal university and INSHALLAH soon when he will be elected as prime minister of PAKISTAN he will bring down the power houses of corruption and will restore rule of law and I am sure education will be his priority number 1 GOD bless you Imran Khan it is also requested please donate generously for NAYA PAKISTAN FUND.
Shaz Apr 29, 2013 01:47pm
MA Apr 29, 2013 02:24pm
Neither Imran Khan is anything alike Obama. nor Pakistan is anything like the US. your judgment and comparison is fundamentally flawed.
Shahpur Apr 29, 2013 03:35pm
I see people are now more disappointed and feel hopeless than ever. Bhutto did not bring any substantive change, but left an illusion of change. Same corrupt, dishonest and crooks, are still in power. I am not sure what Imran Khan can do but he gives the illusion of hope and so life goes on, because there is nothing else, specially for the young and restless.
Muhammad Ahsan KHAN Apr 29, 2013 02:15pm
"Naya Pakistan" This slogan of Mr. Khan is attracting the new and future generation with a hope that coming new government will be entirely different kind of government. There will be no corruption. The jobs will be available on merit and so on. Any governing system is based on the Constitution of the country. If Naya Pakistan is run on the present constition, it will always be the Old Pakistan. It will remain the same "Islamic Republic of Pakistan" as today. Good Luck.
Hamza Apr 30, 2013 07:41pm
Imran has guts to do well. he has got such a foresee that he can almost see his future. I pray to God, please give him a one chance. He is a Revolutionist, 2nd Jinnah and qualities of Bhutto. Vote 4 bat.......
BK Apr 29, 2013 05:12pm
akash Apr 29, 2013 05:10pm
love you imran sahab ...... you will be our leader and u r...
Khalid Mahmood Apr 29, 2013 09:56am
Out of all the 3 parties...Imran promises the change Pakistan so badly. May Allah swt guide him - Ameen!
Maryam Apr 29, 2013 09:58am
I am giving my vote to PTI :)
Farhan Apr 29, 2013 10:25am
Imran Khan Insha Allah will win....PTI is by far the only polictical party which should win to save Pakistan to save the motherland......which has been brutally corrupted and looted by all other politicians. May Allah help Imran Khan in accomplishing what he is promising. Insha Allah
Gulbaz Mushtaq Apr 29, 2013 01:05pm
Dil main ho niat saaf, to ho insaaf... kahay Imram Khan. Long Live Khan.
SHER GUL Apr 29, 2013 04:05pm
Imran is the hope of nation
Haider Apr 29, 2013 01:13pm
yes I have the same well wishes for Imran khan, because he is not corrupt and what ever he promises, he does it. Live long PTI.
BEA Apr 29, 2013 04:04pm
if its not him who else can Pakistan rest theri hopes on the other fools have been shown to be corrupt and greedy not a care for the people who voted them in only care for themselves. Imran Khan may show the people of Pakistan the light and bring that country back on its feet.
sohail Apr 29, 2013 07:06pm
Tahira Apr 29, 2013 07:26pm
I trust hime more than any on else . He is honest and sincere. My vote is for him
skeptic Apr 30, 2013 07:19pm
because it's in Imran Khan's nature not to be dominated by anyone including the establishment and that will create friction and then conflict. He will rattle some traditional houses if given a chance.
Atta ur Rehman Apr 29, 2013 08:40pm
May Allah Give PTI victory in centre and provinces with 2/3rd majority inshallah
Mohib Apr 29, 2013 08:48pm
Thanks to the Pak Army who stayed away and let the country be suced up by these Zardaris and Shariffs. Also thanks to the Supreme Court and the non existence Election Commission. But all these were a blessing indisguise. Mr Khan build up his party and now striking right at the time when the iron is hot. The real problem for these suckers will be after MR khan will win. Where they are going to run away? USA! No chance, Europe ! they will be repatriated for financial and other illegal crimes. Middle East! Pakistanis will be after them. Only chance for them now is to live a life like Idi Amin or go to a South American country and live underground.
zeeshansyed Apr 29, 2013 08:59pm
I was watching TV and they had this program running on DAWN. A guy was out and about in Lahore (at Liberty Market) asking people who they'll vote for. Many of them were supporting Nawaz Shareef. Their 'reasons' to vote for Shareef were so absurd that I couldn't believe it. I mean, I knew that we as a nation are living in a black hole filled with void and nothing else and we are mostly emotionally compromised and make uninformed decisions but to the limit where we'll go and show our support to one person is dangerously high and wrong. Lets face it. People won't be going out to vote come elections. Most of the people who attend these jalsas are there for "tafreeh" because hey, what else is there to do? It'll be a sad, SAD day when Nawaz gets elected in power again and Imran Khan gets put aside. Call me pessimist but really, I am not. I am just going with our track record. Our record of electing people like Zardari, people like Benazir and Shareefs over and over again. Voting for a dead politicians and calling them "alive".
Shahpur Apr 29, 2013 09:32pm
I Think Imran Khan has the basic instincts, in very good shape, being a sportsman. He is also a human, but seems to be a nice human, may be not a perfect to all peoples standards. My suggestion is, that he should talk about all the good things, formers leaders of Pakistan did. People, like, Iqbal Jinnah, Bhutto, Alama Mushraqqi etc. Bhutto does not belong to People Party, he belongs to Pakistan. I think Imran khan can do it.
goodDeedsLeadTo Apr 29, 2013 09:47pm
Pakistan needs Imran Khan, an honest man at the core, a man with experience of building strong institutions like SK where 70 percent get free cancer treatment, which is governed on a daily basis, such that a single omission of rule kicks in audit, accountability & restoration to normal operations. Other parties have experience of becoming rich over their rule, and not giving chance to strong institutions, transparency, governance on a daily basis, These parties head have not been a real threat for each other, because they sailed the same boat. They scratched each others back. They have the experience & shrewdness of avoiding what back fires. None of them could get each other, to save each others interest. Both have huge offshore ownerships, dispersed among relatives, to avoid accountability. Both ignore the facts, they have not been paying personal taxes, they have not revealed how they moved out funds overseas. Muslim world needs leaders like Imran Khan, no corruption means success. And, success of Muslim countries is the only way to redeem the oppression & occupation.
Brian Apr 29, 2013 09:59pm
Why do people think PTI are anti-establishment? Their leadership are all establishment politicians who had a falling out with the major parties.
G.A. Apr 29, 2013 10:00pm
I doubt IK will be able to deliver but its worth a try considering that PPP or PML will be more of the same. My only fear is the JI lurking in PTI's shadow. Just don't want to give them a backdoor entry into government.
Brian Apr 29, 2013 10:01pm
He must have some deal with the TTP. Otherwise he wouldn't be that 'brave'.
Ahmer Apr 30, 2013 06:08pm
Imran has no experience but at least he is sincere and honest unlike the Sharif brothers, Zardari, Altaf and Maulana Diesel.
Jawwad Apr 30, 2013 01:15am
Election is a flushing process that allows informed citizen to vote best candidates in or rather throw worst candidates out. Unfortunatley, for Pakistan Public, they had been deprived of this right as most others enjoy in the World. These are very serious considerations before commenting on Pakistan Politics.
Bob Apr 30, 2013 01:23am
It's power which corrupt, he has none so far.... Let him get in to it and than you will see....
bunery1 Apr 30, 2013 01:38am
My cousin is an electrical engineer. Finished 4 years ago. He has had probably more than 150 interviews so far. He didn't and doesn't have money to buy the job so he is still cuting the corners of news papers with job ads on it. He has had many trips to Islamabad hoping his intelligence and good grads will be noticed by the so called "members"(thieves) of the parliament, who pray 5 times but do not know what it mean to pray. Sad situation in Pakistan.
bunery1 Apr 30, 2013 01:43am
The only choice at this time. Imran Khan
Dogar Apr 30, 2013 04:46am
how can you 'change' a country when you yourself can't change? Same old typical style of politics, talking always against your counterparts without acceding to their accomplishments. Actually he is nothing more than a hope!!!!!!
Patriot Apr 30, 2013 05:31am
There are only 10 days left before the final show down. My friends, each day, every hour is important. Make it count. Don
Qaisar Apr 30, 2013 06:39am
Insha Allah Pti is going to surprise everyone in the world.
Faiz Apr 30, 2013 07:27am
There r so many things i don't like about Imran Khan but 1 thing is for sure he is sincere with Pakistan ,so my vote is for Imran Khan inshAllah
shahid Apr 30, 2013 07:37am
If the top man is clean and competent, things can be changed much sooner than we think. i believe Imran is sincere to Pakistan, and inshallah we will see a new pakistan. we will no longer be slaves to the bhutto or sharif families. me, my friends and my family are all voting for PTI.
muhammad Apr 30, 2013 08:21am
list a few things u dont like about him and why. i am his supporter and also dont like a few things about him but couldnt find much to not like sbout him.
rahzamtakuahs Apr 30, 2013 09:01am
What we love most about this great man is that his unwavering confidence & the larger than life vision has has given us youngsters some hope & a patriotic surge, something to look for & believe in, i.e Naya Pakistan. And I have no doubt in my mind that once he comes in power, he'll lead Pakistan on a path what we have only dreamed of. May Allah give him a long life, he is the one & the last chance Allah has given this nation to move forward if we want to. May Allah save us from the low souls among us, amin.
Bilal Apr 30, 2013 09:57am
Haroon Apr 30, 2013 09:58am
From the heart of central punjab, my extended family voted for N league in the 90s, thats over 200 votes. Now i hate N leauge and will vote for PTI.Fool me twice, shame on me!
Niyar Khan Apr 30, 2013 10:57am
Give the chance to PTI. Personally he is not involved in Raja renals projects. His has no cases of Ehpherdine against him in courts. He dont have to write letter to Swiss authorities. He has no written off loans. He never attacked the supreme court , or involved in BB murder cases .
Javeria Apr 30, 2013 10:57am
God is giving us a golden chance let's not waste. Please vote for IK.
ayesha200bc Apr 30, 2013 09:37pm
The only ray of hope is Imran Khan, don't waste this golden oppotunity---Vote for him --Now at this stage we have no margins to make mistakes---IK is an educated, and honest person with a broad spectrum---My vote for IK---
hania Apr 30, 2013 11:55am
best that we ever had :D
Vishnu Mahant Apr 30, 2013 09:48pm
I would vote for Imran Khan if I could. Looks like a lone star in the sky.
Salim Akbani Apr 30, 2013 01:51pm
If PTI can deliver 10% of what they are claiming, they will do well. The problem lies in the politicians and political parties setting up unrealistic goals and expectations. When cannot or do not deliver, the people become disillusioned and angry. Pakistan needs a progressive party that will take the country into the 21-century and not keep dragging it back into the dark ages.
Salim Akbani Apr 30, 2013 01:55pm
I just hope he can live up to the hopes of so many millions who are yearning for a change.
mazen Apr 30, 2013 03:14pm
I think PML-N supporters are very desperate and giving dislikes to every good posts of IK. I don't know why they are that much insecure....