Long march could go on for 10 months: Imran

Published November 3, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures at his supporters during a stopover of his caravan in Gakharmandi on Wednesday. — PTI/Twitter
PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures at his supporters during a stopover of his caravan in Gakharmandi on Wednesday. — PTI/Twitter

LAHORE: It seems that Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s campaign for ‘real freedom’ could be a protracted one, after he hinted on Wednesday that the long march could last for 10 months instead of simply culminating upon reaching Islamabad.

Addressing participants of the rally at Gakharmandi on the sixth day of the travails, the former prime minister asked the ‘institutions’ if they were neutral, then what was stopping them from holding “free and fair” elections.

“In the press conference, it was said that ‘we are neutral’,” the former premier referred to the recent presser by the heads of the ISI and ISPR.

“Let the nation decide as to who should rule them and bring prosperity,” he said, demanding fresh polls.

Mr Khan also had some questions for the establishment: who was involved in the exit from Pakistan and subsequent murder of Arshad Sharif; who was threatening journalists and party workers through ‘unknown numbers’; who had imposed ‘crooks’ on Pakistan by ousting his government; and, who had tortured PTI leaders Shahbaz Gill and Azam Swati.

Mr Khan also asked about the cipher and questioned to whom the comments of the US official about his removal were addressed.

The former prime minister claimed that the ‘corrupt rulers’ could not be convicted during his time in power because he had no control over the National Accou­ntability Bureau (NAB).

“Those controlling NAB let the thieves and dacoits go scot-free with the looted money,” he lamented.

“Some hidden hands were protecting the Sharifs and Zardaris from being convicted,” he alleged.

At the conclusion of the sixth day of the march, the PTI chief tweeted appreciating the enthusiasm of people for the “Haqeeqi Azadi march” and asserted that there was no doubt left that people of Pakistan would throng Rawalpindi and Islamabad on his call and “break all records of public gatherings in Pakistan”. Mr Khan, in his speech, had urged people from the length and breadth of the country to reach the twin cities on any mode of transport, or even on foot.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said the party could continuously change Islamabad arrival date to confuse the government. PTI Secretary General Asad Umar, however, said the long march caravan would reach Rawalpindi on Nov 10 and converge in Islamabad on Nov 11.

Meanwhile, a teenager was killed and another was seriously injured as their motorcycle rammed into a truck near the Gujranwala-Rawalpindi bypass.

It is alleged that the truck, part of the long march convoy, was coming on the wrong side of the road. As per reports, Sameer, 14, died on the spot while the injured boy was shifted to the nearby hospital. However, Rescue 1122 sources claimed that the road on both sides was closed by the police, but the boys sped through.

In another incident, fire erupted inside a generator being towed behind PTI chief Imran Khan’s container near Rahwali. The blaze was immediately put out without any casualties.

It may be mentioned that a PTI worker, Hassan Ali, who was seen falling from a truck painted in PTI colours in a viral video, succumbed to injuries at a hospital on Wednesday.

The worker had fallen after he had crashed against a tree on the road. Though videos of the incident were widely shared on social media, it could not be confirmed when the accident took place.

Published in Dawn, November 3rd, 2022

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