KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has reiterated that he will continue his movement till the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Mr Khan arrived in Karachi in a private plane from Islamabad on Sunday to address a public meeting outside the Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum. A large number of PTI workers and supporters, including women and children, had gathered at the venue to welcome their leader. They were carrying national and PTI flags and chanting slogans against the government.

Amid the slogan of ‘Go Nawaz Go’, the cricketer-turned-politician repeated for the umpteenth time that the prime minister would have to resign because neither Saudi Arabia nor ‘Gullu Butt’ could save him. “Time has come for the two parties taking turns to go...Nawaz Sharif, you will have to go,” he said.

Mr Khan said he had come to Karachi to unite its people divided on ethnic lines. “We want to make a new Pakistan to end injustices, where those who commit crimes and are involved in target killings will be taken to task.”

He claimed that all elections, except the one held in 1970, had been heavily rigged. “It is our fundamental right to elect our leader through votes and not through rigging.”

While he criticised the country’s two major parties, PML-N and PPP, and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, he spared his nemesis, the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, although it held a sit-in on Saturday in protest against a statement of two PTI leaders who had rejected new administrative units in Sindh.

It appears that Mr Khan was returning a favour as MQM chief Altaf Hussain had congratulated him in advance on the success of his public meeting and said that he would be a guest of the MQM in Karachi.

People attending the rally raised their hands when Mr Khan asked them to give him a pledge that they would not tolerate injustice and never bow down before oppressors. “The oppressors take advantage of our division...they [oppressors] are united but the people are divided.”

He said target killings in Karachi could not take place without the support of people in government, adding that his party would make the police force apolitical and bring peace to Lyari by eliminating the elements involved in gang warfare. “We will eliminate water and land mafias.”

He said the PTI was not a party of one province; it was a party of the common people of Pakistan. “We will end the politics of dynasty. My sons will never enter politics.”

Mr Khan said his party would give top priority to education, police and judiciary. The PTI will introduce the best local government system in the country. “In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, police are apolitical. We will expel Gullu Butts from the Punjab police,” he said.

He said the people of Sindh had been deceived in the name of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. “Be ready Sindhis, I am coming to you.”

He asked the people of Karachi to give him a pledge that they would not allow any VIP to close roads. “The people of Karachi are more politically aware than others...you will not allow anyone to rig elections.”

He announced that his next destination would be Lahore.

Earlier, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the party’s sit-in in Islamabad had changed the landscape of Pakistani politics.

He criticised veteran politician Javed Hashmi, who recently parted ways with the PTI, and said he had stabbed him in the back. “The nation will not forgive those who try to stab Imran Khan in the back.”

He said Mr Hashmi had been welcomed with the slogan of ‘Baghi’ when he announced joining the PTI. “But now Baghi has become ‘Daghi’ and is sitting in the lap of Nawaz Sharif.”

Mr Qureshi said the PTI chief would give peace to the people of Karachi, adding that the people of Sindh were fed up with politics of corruption. “PPP is no more a party of Bhutto; it has become a party of Zardari.”

Awami Muslim League president Shaikh Rashid said Imran Khan would eliminate the menace of target killings and extortion from Karachi. This huge gathering on a short notice proved that the people of Karachi had awakened.

Published in Dawn, September 22nd , 2014

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