LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chair­man Imran Khan has said that despite being injured he is determined to head to Rawalpindi on Saturday (today), where he is all set to lead his party’s long march, for the sake of the nation, and called upon the public to reach the garrison city for the “climax” of his protest movement.

Mr Khan has once again demanded fresh elections that he believes will save the country from a default and political mayhem. He maintained he would reveal his next strategy during his speech in Rawalpindi on Saturday.

In an interview with a private news channel, the former premier said some elements wanted an altercation between him and the army, but insisted this country and the force both belonged to him. He added he only had issues with some black sheep within the army and not the entire institution.

Regarding any prospects for a dialogue with the government, he asked: “If they are not willing to hold general elections early, what is left to talk about?”

In a worst case scenario, he said the elections would definitely be held next October, claiming the masses would throw the incumbent rulers out with the power of their votes.

“The Haqeeqi Azadi movement will not end today (Nov 26), but continue until justice is dispensed with,” he said.

To a question about the court’s decision in the dual nationality case of Faisal Vawda and if it could be used to allow PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif to return to contest elections, Mr Khan said: “The powers that be are ruining the basic moral fibre of society,” adding democracy always stood on moral standards. He regretted that laws were being “amended” to make Nawaz eligible to contest elections.

About his relations with Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi, the PTI chief said the two were cordial with each other, but added that one also needed to be ready for give-and-take in a coalition government.

About the registration of an FIR of the assassination attempt on him, he said CM Elahi and his son Moonis had exerted maximum pressure, but the police did not comply for being ‘controlled’ by the powerful quarters.

Giving an update on his recovery, Mr Khan said the two bullet wounds in his thigh were healing, but he was facing difficulties walking owing to the third bullet that pierced the lower part of his leg.

Mr Khan also acknowledged that he was still facing threats and would take all precautionary measures.

Meanwhile, the PTI Punjab chapter finalised its preparations for the long march, and planned that two caravans will separately head towards Rawalpindi through the motorway and GT Road. CM Elahi has assured that foolproof security arrangements would be made for the march.

In a meeting with senior PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry, who called on him at his office on Friday, the CM said “people will come and go, but no political adventure will succeed in Punjab”, responding to reports that PPP leader Asif Zardari had been tasked with dislodging the provincial government.

Mr Chaudhry maintained the long march participants will remain peaceful.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2022

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