ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaaf chief Imran Khan said on Friday he would never ally himself with either Nawaz Sharif or President Asif Ali Zardari because they would never meet his condition of declaring their assets.
He was addressing a news conference at the residence of former chief of Intelligence Bureau Masood Sharif who announced that he was leaving the PPP and joining the PTI.
Mr Khan urged all “sane and clean” political leaders to join his party to bring about what he called a “tsunami of change”.
When asked why did he not demand that generals and judges should also declare their assets, he said: “First it is for the politicians, the president, the prime minister, cabinet members and top government functionaries to set an example by declaring their real and concealed assets; after that we can force all segments of society, including generals and judges, to declare their assets.”
When asked how would he ensure fair and free elections which could enable him to come to power, Mr Khan said he would deploy 10 young monitors at each polling booth and would ensure that polls were conducted by an independent Election Commission under a neutral government. He warned that if anyone dared to rig the polls his party would demonstrate its street power and there might be a ‘bloody reaction’.
He said fair and free polls could not be held under President Zardari and his party would move the Supreme Court to ensure that elections were conducted by a truly independent Election Commission and without administration’s influence.
About the allotment of PTI tickets, he said a cell of his party would investigate the past of each candidate who would also have to declare his assets. He said youths would be in majority among the candidates of his party.
He took pains to explain his concept of liberalism which has been criticised in a statement by the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan which has also accused him of being an agent of the US and European powers. “My concept of liberalism is strictly in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and Islam which does not coerce anyone to convert. I am a disciple of Allama Iqbal who was the greatest liberal.”
Mr Khan said the statement appeared to be a fabrication by the same elements which had assassinated Benazir Bhutto and put the blame on Taliban.
He said a large number of politicians were contacting him to join his party, but he was cautious because he was aware of the criticism which he would face in the event of tainted people joining the PTI.
When asked why had he failed to fulfil his promise of bringing MQM chief Altaf Hussain to justice, Mr Khan said he had already provided evidence against Mr Hussain to the Scotland Yard. But, he said the criminal activities in which the MQM chief was involved had taken place in Pakistan and it was for the government to pursue cases against him.
Answering a question about his failure to provide any solution in his Lahore speech to the burning issues of price hike and unemployment, Mr Khan said: “If the government stops corruption and tax evasion it can save Rs3,000 billion to boost the economy which will automatically curtail prices.”
Mr Masood Sharif said he had quit the post of PPP Parliamentarians’ senior vice-president and resigned from the party’s Central Executive Committee when it decided to enter into a deal with Gen Musharraf over the NRO. He said PTI was the only party which could bring about a change in the country.
Mr Sharif had reportedly contested the 2002 election against Imran Khan for NA-15 Karak seat.