GUJAR KHAN: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan said that the purpose of his long march was to achieve ‘real independence’ that meant the decisions for the nation were taken within the country and not by any foreign or superpower.
Addressing the participants of his party’s long march in Gujar Khan and Chakwal via video link, Mr Khan said people were emancipated in countries where law and justice prevailed, adding politics was played on police stations, patwaris and courts in Pakistan because people did not get justice from any of these entities. People here had to search for their local representatives to get justice, which wasn’t the case in the West.
Western countries attracted more investment and trade because their systems were transparent, the PTI chief said, questioning if he being a former premier and despite ruling Punjab could not get a first information registered, what would be the fate of a common man.
While talking about overseas Pakistanis, Mr Khan said they wanted to return after making money abroad and invest here, but lacked trust in the system.
He further deplored the treatment meted out to Senator Azam Swati during his arrest and subsequent detention, and also lauded slain journalist Arshad Sharif for standing firm on his stance despite threats, and eventually sacrificing his life without bowing down.
He reiterated that he would unveil his plans about participation in the long march in Rawalpindi on Saturday.
Mr Khan claimed Pakistan’s economy was nose-diving, and the risk of default in returning foreign loans had soared to 80 per cent from 5pc in March. In such a situation, he said further, no one would want to invest and no commercial bank would extend loans to the country. Every economist was aware of the situation, but “the man sitting in London” was unwilling to hold early elections only to save himself, he claimed.
Referring to the recent attacks on security forces in Lakki Marwat, Khan said he saw an uptick in militancy since the incumbent government took over. Commenting on Afghanistan, he stated ties with the interim government next door could be improved and the cross-border movement of militants controlled.
He lamented that the government neither thought of the economic situation nor security or foreign policy, but only focused on closing corruption cases.
Earlier, addressing the rally here, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi said those who used to accuse the PTI of inflation should now look at their own performance, asking questioning that the PTI was ready to accept its role during the three-and-a-half years of its government, but who would account for the last 37 years.
He further blamed the government for adding to the country’s woes by taking more loans, and quoted ‘expert predictions’ that the growth rate would dip to -2pc percent at the end of the year.
Moreover, speaking to a rally of marchers in the Dhallan area of Chakwal, PTI Secretary General Asad Umar claimed there were only two forces in the country, the army and Imran Khan, which were keeping the nation united. He said attempts were being made to create a rift between the two major forces.