Imran Khan touts 11-point agenda for ‘naya’ Pakistan
LAHORE (92 News) – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Sunday while thanking all those who reached Minar-e-Pakistan from across the country said that Lahore has never disappointed him.
Addressing public gathering in Lahore on Sunday, he said that: “Ask yourself why Pakistan had been created” adding that at the same time that Pakistan was created on the model of Madina.
Talking about frisking of Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi at US airport, Khan inquired that when our prime minister is being treated like this on a US airport, imagine how a common Pakistani would’ve been treated there.
Khan said that Rs6000 billion was the debt on Pakistan in the last sixty years until 2008, and in Zardari period it increased upto Rs13000 billion and then in PML-N period it increased up till Rs27000 billion.
“The Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam wanted would afford equal rights to all citizens including the minorities, where the Hindu community, Sikhs, and Christians would be equal citizens. This country was to be formed on the model of Madina, where the basis of law was justice,” Imran said.
The PTI chairman said that Pakistan ranked the second with the most out-of-school children in the world with only Nigeria ahead of it.
The opposition figure vowed to sweep to power in upcoming elections, promising radical change for the poor at a campaign kick-off rally in the city of Lahore that has long been the power base of ousted premier Nawaz Sharif.
Khan outlined a populist 11-point plan to usher in a new era of prosperity that he envisages for Pakistan after the general election at which he hopes to become prime minister.
“Today we are at crossroads,” said Khan, a former cricketing hero and founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party.
“It is time to change our destiny and think big.”
Khan told a boisterous crowd of about 100,000 people that Pakistan was “heading towards destruction” but his plan would help forge a fairer society and steer Pakistan towards a path first envisaged by the nation’s father, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.
Khan said that if elected he would build schools and “world class hospitals” across the country, while farmers would get cheap loans. He also pledged to build 5 million homes for the poor, which would create jobs and stimulate the economy.
After spending much of his post-cricket political career on the fringes, Khan has in recent years emerged as a key challenger to Sharif, a three-time prime minister who was ousted by the Supreme Court last year but whose party retains power.
Sharif’s legal woes, which the veteran leader says are politically motivated, could further boost Khan in the run up to the elections as an anti-corruption court is due to soon deliver a verdict on another Sharif trial. Khan has predicted Sharif will be jailed before the polls, likely in July.
Khan, who has sought to shed his playboy image of the past, is betting that his anti-corruption message, coupled with anti-America rhetoric and a projecting image of pious devotion, will propel him into power in the deeply conservative Muslim nation of 208 million people.
In Lahore, Khan’s message resonated with many of the bandana-wearing young men waving PTI’s green and red-colour flags.
“Imran Khan has given us the slogan of ‘New Pakistan’ and that’s what we want,” said Shahzad Khan, 17, in reference to the “Naya Pakistan” slogan used by PTI.
Sharif has accused Khan of being a puppet of the powerful military establishment that has a history of meddling in Pakistani politics. Khan denies colluding with the army and the military denies interfering in modern-day politics.
He added that unlike in 2013, when PML-N swept to power, this time around many of the so-called “electables” – politicians who carry large rural vote banks due to their status as tribal elders, feudal lords and heads of various clans – will switch allegiances away from PML-N to PTI.
“The electables…weigh things up, they want to be on the winning side,” Khan told foreign media.
But at the Lahore rally, Khan shunned talk of electables and focused on promising a new dawn for Pakistan’s poor.
“This system cannot run unless we stand up with the downtrodden,” he said. “I am standing with you, it is time of make new Pakistan.”