LAHORE/ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chairman Imran Khan has said that no nation can rise without investing in human resource but the Sharifs looted the national wealth, weakened state institutions and deprived the masses of basic amenities like clean water as well as health and education facilities over the past three decades.

“The PTI, after coming to power, will transform Pakistan into a truly welfare state that looks after its downtrodden and jobless youth,” he promised while speaking at membership camps organised by the party leaders at six different locations in Lahore on Sunday.

Mr Khan vowed to rescue Pakistan from the clutches of the corrupt, looters and dacoits. “We will make Naya [new] Pakistan after defeating the looters in the next general elections,” he asserted.

Accusing ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif of looting Rs300 billion and stashing the money abroad, he said the PTI would bring back the looted money. Referring to Rs630bn annual development fund for Punjab, Mr Khan lambasted Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif for his failure to establish any state-of-the-art health facility, where he and his family members could be taken care of.

Responding to elder Sharif’s claim that he could not see any development in Swat, Mr Khan said the Panama Papers case had “blurred Sharif’s sight”. Referring to the billion tree tsunami project, he said the PTI-led Khyber Pakhtun­khwa government had not planted trees in advertisements like younger Sharif but on ground. He also invited Mr Sharif to visit KP schools and hospitals and personally witness the change.

PTI to finalise election strategy, criteria for candidates today

Accusing Shahbaz Sharif of deforesting Punjab and converting Lahore into a “jungle of cement”, the PTI chief claimed that his KP government developed 40 forests, each of Chhanga Manga forest size, in the province. “The PTI is concerned about the future of country’s youth and children.”

He said the ‘corrupt’ prime minister, chief minister as well as federal and Punjab ministers were looting national wealth, adding that no country could progress under such leadership.

Referring to Nawaz Sharif’s campaign ‘Mujhe kyun nikala’, Mr Khan said he would explain why he (Mr Sharif) had been ousted at a public meeting at Minar-i-Pakistan on April 29.

Polls strategy

The PTI will finalise its strategy for the coming general elections and set criteria for its candidates on Monday (today). The strategy will be devised at the party’s parliamentary board meeting to be chaired by Imran Khan at his Banigala residence.

The PTI’s election management cells, headed by KP’s former secretary Arbab Shazad, will present separate reports on preparations for the general elections scheduled for July this year.

The parliamentary board meeting is said to be quite important as the party’s entire election strategy and campaign will be based on it.

“PTI will set basic principles how to contest the general elections,” said the party’s spokesman, Fawad Chaudhry, while talking to Dawn on Sunday. The meeting, he said, would decide the criteria for candidates and the process for award of party tickets to them.

He said the PTI would definitely look into the background of the candidates and would not award ticket to a parson who had a criminal background. “We cannot give tickets to criminals,” he added.

In reply to a question, Mr Chaudhry claimed that not a single corruption reference of National Accountability Bureau was being tried against any PTI leader, adding that some inquiries were being held against some party leaders but these were “illegally” made on political grounds.

The PTI formed the election management cells in the four provinces and at the Centre and they would give separate briefings during the parliamentary board meeting.

Mr Chaudhry said it was decided that online applications of the candidates would also be accepted so that those who did not want to submit their applications in person could file them online. He said the party would also decide how to launch the election campaign and what would be its agenda.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2018

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