PTI workers chant slogans at a party workers convention in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star
PTI workers chant slogans at a party workers convention in Peshawar on Wednesday. — White Star

PESHAWAR: The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf organised a workers’ convention here on Wednesday claiming the popularity of its detained leader and former prime minister, Imran Khan, is growing despite “suppression.”

The party leaders and workers announced that their struggle for the ‘real independence’ of the country would continue and that they would strongly resist hurdles to that cause.

The event was hosted by the PTI’s Peshawar chapter and addressed by senior central vice-president of the party Sher Afzal Marwat, district president and former MNA Arbab Sher Ali, provincial senior vice-chairman Taimur Saleem Jhagra, former MPA Fazl Ilahi, and other leaders.

The participants shouted slogans for Mr Imran as well as the Pakistan Army and its fallen soldiers.

PTI holds workers convention in Peshawar; leaders demand level-playing field ahead of elections

Mr Marwat raised questions about the country’s justice system saying the courts of law are granting relief “beyond limits” to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif in cases against him, while decisions on court cases against PTI leader Imran Khan were in the slow lane.

“Though named in many cases, no one can dare touch Nawaz Sharif. He is roaming freely despite looting Pakistan during his rule, while Imran Khan is languishing in prison despite standing for the people’s rights,” he said.

The PTI senior vice-president alleged that Mr Imran was not getting relief from any court of law.

“One state and two constitutions are unacceptable,” he said.

Mr Marwat said there was no room in the PTI for the people like Pervez Khattak and Mahmood Khan and those who stood with Mr Imran in difficult times would stay part and parcel of the party.

The participants shouted slogans against Mr Khattak and Mr Mahmood.

“Those who are bent on eliminating Imran Khan from politics should listen carefully that his popularity is growing across the length and breadth of the county,” the PTI senior vice-president said.

He alleged that the Election Commission of Pakistan tried in vain to defame Mr Imran but as the people continued to stand by him.

PTI Youth Wing central president Meena Khan Afridi told participants that the party submitted an application to the district administration several times for the holding of the workers’ convention but the permission for the event was denied.

He said the workers’ convention was held only after the interventions of the Peshawar High Court.

PTI leader and former minister Taimur Saleem Jhagra said the party’s leaders and workers were subjected to a lot of difficulties, including imprisonment, but they remained loyal to their leader Imran.

He said only Imran Khan, as the prime minister, could steer the country out of the current financial and administrative crises.

Mr Jhagra said the former PTI chairman had been detained for the last 120 days and even if the detention lasted thousands of years, he wouldn’t make a secret deal for his release.

In a thinly veiled reference to PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif, he said the establishment’s ladla (blue-eye politician) had returned from London to become the prime minister but he should realise that Pakistan had changed, so the youth won’t accept his politics any longer Arbab Sher Ali claimed that the PTI had strengthened after the May 9-10 incidents in the country. He said the party had never stood against state institutions as they were apolitical.

The PTI leader lauded workers for “bravely facing troubled times in the last six months.”

“All our efforts are for the supremacy of the Constitution and the law,” he said.

Mr Ali demanded of the caretaker government to ensure a level-playing field for the PTI to participate in the upcoming general elections saying if that doesn’t happen, it will be a great injustice to Pakistan and its people.

Published in Dawn, December 7th, 2023

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