LAHORE - JAWAD R AWAN/ARSHAD BHATTI - At a not-so-impressive show against price-hike, PTI chief Imran Khan on Sunday announced to a wage a ‘jihad against inflation and slavery to America’. Citing reasons behind the surging inflation, he warned it was just a tip of the iceberg as worse was yet to come.
Imran said his party will soon bring forth a 9-point agenda against inflation, besides announcing plan to take the ‘tsunami against inflation’ to Umer Kot (Sindh) on January 6 and Rawalpindi on 24 Jan of next year.
The protest rally, scheduled to start from Nasir Bagh, started from Istanbul Chowk in front of NCA and culminated at GPO Chowk instead of Faisal Chowk - outside Punjab Assembly - probably due to thinner than expected participation. Party leaders and organisers did not give any concrete reason for this change in plan.
JI chief Syed Munawar Hassan and Awami Muslim League President Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed also addressed the rally but PTI head was the main star of the show who said that rampant corruption, too few people paying taxes, government over expenditure, excess printing of the currency notes, the elite safeguarding their wealth abroad and tax breaks for the rich were the major causes for rising inflation.
But Imran had nothing new to present except the announcement that they would bring a bill in the parliament to convert all the governor houses into public parks or hotels to generate revenue. “There are 1,700 servants in the governor house. Who is paying for all this expenditure? You are.”
Imran said that money of big fish lying in foreign banks should be brought back and asked people not to vote for those who maintain their assets outside the country. PTI chief said that May 11 electoral match was fixed.
He claimed that government printed notes worth Rs850 billion in just four months which was one of main reasons of inflation. He urged Nawaz government to bring GST to its pre-election ratio and tax 3 million affluent people which would yield Rs300 billion.
He said that government was charging extra eight rupees per unit of electricity to compensate for theft loss but not curbing pilferage. “They say K-P steals electricity. If they give us complete control over electricity, we’ll show them how to eliminate theft.”
Imran asked PM Nawaz to support PTI’s ongoing drive against Nato supply line to end drone attacks which he said were a major cause of law and order situation in the country. “There is a very simple reason for blocking NATO supplies. We don’t want to fight a war with America. We just want to convey our message (stop drones) very clearly and emphatically.”