ISLAMABAD, Oct 6: As Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan drove off to South Waziristan on his peace mission from here on Saturday, he was accompanied mostly by elite political supporters and sympathisers.
The convey comprising almost 50 vehicles mostly land-cruisers left a local hotel at Kashmir Highway near Aabpara at 9:45am. The PTI chief was also ridding a luxurious vehicle.
The number of the participants increased at the entry point of the motorway and then Balkasar Interchange on way to Talagang.
Mostly people came from other parts of Punjab with their local party leaders in cars. However, some wagons carrying party workers joined the rally at Talagang and on the way to Mianwali.
Mostly, the participants of the rally were unaware of the main reason behind the peace march.
However, they said they had come to support Imran for a change.
“We are going to Waziristan to bring peace in the trouble area of the country. Waziristan and other tribal areas are also parts of Pakistan and we joined Imran for promotion of love and peace,” said Mohammad Khurram, a participant coming from Sialkot, while talking to Dawn.
He said other politicians had failed to resolve the basic problems of the country and Imran would bring a change. “I hope we all will vote the PTI to bring a change in the country.”
Malik Zaheer from Chakwal said he had come with local leaders as he had never been to Waziristan. He said his friend, who was the brother of a local leader, asked him to join the peace rally.
He said people had become fed up with the politics of PPP and PML-N, adding the PTI would bring economic change in the country. He said Imran would also bring foreign investment and eliminate unemployment.
The rally was provided protection by PTI workers. The peace march received warm reception as it reached Talagang where flower petals were showered on the motorcade.
The local party leaders had established stalls to welcome the rally but Imran stopped only at a few of them.
While addressing the people at different spots, the PTI chief said: “We are not going to fight anyone in Waziristan. The basic aim is to bring peace in that area. If we are asked to halt, we will stop.”
He said earlier he was blamed for being a Taliban supporter. “But now some people are saying that I am working for the West.” He said Maulana Fazlur Rahman was spreading disinformation about him that Jews and the Christians had come to attend the rally. He said the people accompanying him were peace activists.
He said there was no threat to the peace march from Taliban. The people of Waziristan would be providing us security, he said.
He said the government was creating hurdles in the peace march. But he vowed that the rally would reach its final destination at South Waziristan.