GILGIT: Prime Minister Imran Khan has claimed that Azadi march is not against him and the leadership of the opposition parties have gathered in Islamabad to seek amnesty that he will never give no matter for how long they hold their sit-in in the federal capital.
“Sit however long you want. When your food runs out, we will send more. But we will not give you an NRO… You will all go to jail,” Mr Khan declared addressing the 72nd Gilgit-Baltistan Independence Day celebrations on Friday.
His comments came shortly before Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz president Shahbaz Sharif joined the opposition’s Azadi march in Islamabad.
“I want the media to go there [Islamabad] and ask people who they wish to free themselves from,” the PM said, adding that all his opponents appeared disjointed in their thoughts and aims.
“If you ask the PPP, they will talk about inflation; if you talk to the PML-N they won’t even know why they are there. The JUI-F will decry a ‘Jewish conspiracy’ [to undermine Pakistan]. When Maulana Fazlur Rehman is there [in Islamabad] we have no need of foreign conspiracies,” said the premier, adding: “The way the Indian media is celebrating [this march], it makes it seem the Maulana himself is (an Indian) national.”
Vows to send food for ‘Azadi march’ participants if they run short of it
PM Khan said: “People are on to you now, Fazl. This is the age of social media. People know there is no substance in your statements. People remember that when PTI gave a dharna [in 2014], what the PPP, PML-N had said at that time.”
He regretted that even Awami National Party chief Asfandyar Wali, who used to speak against the Maulana’s JUI all the time, was protesting against his government along with the JUI-F chief.
The prime minister said: “Bilawal, who calls himself a liberal, has also joined the jalsa. [It seems] the only thing ‘liberal’ about him is that he is liberally corrupt.”
He asked all the protesting parties to tell the people why they had gathered in Islamabad. He said their corruption cases were “laid bare for everyone to see. They are all afraid they will be next”.
He said he would not allow thieves to live in palaces. “You will all go to jail.”
Paying tribute to the heroes of Gilgit-Baltistan independence struggle against the Dogra Raj, PM Khan said: “I have come here for the Independence Day celebrations of the region.”
He assured the crowd that his government would fully concentrate on Gilgit-Baltistan, which had a huge potential for tourism. “I am planning with
international investors to build tourism infrastructure in GB to attract more tourists to the region,” he said, adding that an investor would set up a food processing plant in the area for export of apricot.
“Gilgit-Baltistan is also a gateway of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor that will bring development,” he said.
Reiterating his support for the people of India-held Kashmir, PM Imran Khan said no force could stop them from getting freedom. He said PM Modi had played his last card by revoking the special status of the occupied territory on Aug 5. He said he would continue to raise voice for the people of Kashmir on every forum.
PM Khan also hoisted a flag at a ceremony held to pay tribute to the martyrs of Gilgit-Baltistan and laid a floral wreath at the memorial of GB war of independence.
Earlier, Gilgit Baltistan Governor Raja Jalal Hussain Maqpoon and Chief Minister Hafeezur Rehman spoke on the occasion.
Published in Dawn, November 2nd, 2019