'Declare assets or face disobedience'
October 31, 2011
RE - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan Sunday asked the rulers to declare their assets within few months, failing which his party would launch civil disobedience movement to oust them.
Peoples tsunami will sweep them (rulers) away, he said while addressing a mammoth public rally at Minar-i-Pakistan, which, according to conservative estimates attracted well over a hundred thousand people from across Punjab and other parts of the country. The rally organisers said their estimate was 400,000 to 500,000 people.
The cricketer-turned-politician, who himself might be astonished to see such a large crowd before him, declared that he would clean bold the two parties with peoples support.
I know how to break the partnership (between PPP and PML-N), Imran threw the gauntlet at President Zardari and Nawaz Sharif, as his words had the implied meanings that both were ruling the country since long, but now he would not let them 'play any more.
I would send the two batsmen packing (an obvious reference to Nawaz Sharif and President Zardari) back to the pavilion by throwing just one delivering, he said using cricket terminology. Mian Saab jaan diyo sadi wari aan diyo. (Mian Saab your turn is over, let us have ours), Imran averred, this time addressing only to Nawaz Sharif.
Asking politicians to declare their assets within few months, the PTI leader warned that if they did not do so he would launch a civil disobedience movement to oust the rulers. He said he would also approach the Supreme Court in this regard.
Imran said his party will set up a cell to probe politicians assets abroad and within the country and expose them before the public.
In his 45 minutes speech, Imran claimed that he had the panacea to resolve all problems facing the country and also announced a roadmap to steer the country out of the present mess.
He said both Nawaz and Zardari were not capable of delivering any good to the nation and now was the time for change.
Talking about as to how he would end loadshedding, he said that after coming into power, he would ensure that all power generating units are run 60 to 70 per cent of their total capacity instead of current 25 per cent.
Imran also vowed to end Thana and Kachehri culture by introducing Panchayat system to be run under local government system. He said he would make villages powerful to resolve villagers problems at their doorstep.
Khan said if voted into power, he would computerise revenue record to end the monopoly of Patwaris who fleece the people. He doubted sincerity of the present rulers to computerise the revenue record, saying they will not let this happen to continue having their share in the extortion made by Patwaris. He believed that the bribe taken by these officials went up to the higher echelons, and the 'Qabza mafia now sitting in the assemblies was patronising the corrupt system mainly run by the Patwaris.
Imran vowed to do away with the current Thana culture through de-politicisation of police. He also announced introducing a new system for appointment of Station House Officers (SHOs) who would be elected by the people. A police officer elected by the people will not dare do injustice with his electorate, he substantiated his point.
The PTI chief also cast aspersions on prevailing system of justice in the country. Justice is sold in courts and not dispensed, he observed, adding that his government would introduce Panchayat system at local level besides taking measures to make the judiciary independent and free of administrative control.
He told his supporters that after coming into power, he would make it compulsory through legislation for every politician to declare his/her assets before entering into politics.
He also pledged to end tax evasion by the mighty and rooting out corruption from government departments. According to his estimate, the country suffered a huge loss of over Rs3,000 billion annually mainly because of corrupt practices in the present system. He said he would bring back the looted money, around $100 in his assessment, deposited in the foreign accounts. The crowd responded by saying a big 'No when Imran asked them if Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari had the capacity and will to end corruption and collect taxes. Only Imran Khan can do it, he said, adding that he would also hold the corrupt accountable.
Reverting back to Nawaz, the PTI chief said: How could you defeat a big Magarmachh (crocodile) in the form of Zardari when you cannot even kill mosquitoes, a reference to dengue epidemic in the Punjab. He also termed Fridays PML-N rally a gathering of Patwaris.
Coming to Balochistan problem, he said his party would win over all disgruntled Baloch leaders though negotiations and by bringing an end to military operation and target killings there. He said he was already in contact with Akhtar Mengal in this regard. He said PTI would establish Truth and Reconciliation Commission to woo back the estranged Balochs.
Imran said drone attacks are giving rise to militancy in the tribal areas by fuelling sentiments of revenge among the innocent victims and thereby pushing them to the ranks of Taliban. He vowed to get the drone attacks stopped as soon as his party assumes power, and resolved to win back militants through initiating meaningful dialogue with them. Over a million armed tribal people are a backbone of Pakistan, and through drone attacks the US is trying to paralyse it, he said, adding that the government was colluding with the US in drone attacks.
He also shared with the audience that in his recent interaction with the tribal elders during PTIs protest against drone attacks in Islamabad, they all told him that they themselves were capable of wiping out the militants from their areas if the drone strikes come to an end and the army pulls out.
About foreign policy, he said he would maintain good relations with the US, but on equal terms. Yes, we will help America to pull out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, but will not use our army against own people under any circumstances, he averred. Imran said he would also improve relations with China, saying he was undertaking a visit to that country from tomorrow (today) in this connection.
Though he did not give any solution to the Kashmir dispute, but asked India to withdraw 0.7 million troops deployed in the valley, saying if a strong military power like that of the US could not conquer Afghanistan, how could its army crush the freedom struggle.
He criticised President Zardari also for writing a letter to American President seeking his help to save him from the army.
He made frequent mention of Rehri Walas, rickshaw Walaas, Tanaga Walas and labourers in his speech and gave them hope of a better future under his regime.
Earlier, hundreds of thousands of people, majority of them youth, from across the country, but mainly from the provincial metropolis, thronged Minar-i-Pakistan to participate in the historic rally. People in groups, carrying party flags, placards and banners inscribed with writings in favour of Imran Khan and against Zardari and Sharif brothers, and holding portraits of PTI chief, started arriving at the venue at around 12 at noon and continued pouring in till 6pm. The PTI arranged camps at entry and exit points and at important places on major City roads to welcome the participants.
Unprecedented gathering at the venue forced the organisers to remove tents and create extra space for more people. Those who could not enter the venue were forced to stand outside the boundary wall of the ground to listen to the voice of change raised by PTI Chief Imran Khan. A good number of people also listened to the address from the rooftops of nearby buildings, including Badshahi Mosque. Youths also climbed on the trees inside the venue to get a glimpse of their leader.
Hundreds of people even could not manage to reach near Minar-i-Pakistan due to massive traffic jams caused by extra vehicular load on major entry and exit points, mainly Ravi Bridge, Ferozepur Road, Babu Sabu and Multan Road. Closure of Saggian Bridge put additional burden on Ravi Bridge, denying people coming from other cities their access to the venue of PTI rally.
PTI flag on a remote-controlled plane, hovering over the venue, remained an attraction for the youths. The PTI workers set free pigeons and balloons on the arrival of Imran Khan at the venue. Enthusiastic youth gave a rousing welcome when Imran mounted to the podium to deliver his speech, waited by the participants for hours. Highly charged participants continuously waved party flags on the tune of patriotic songs and during pauses in the speech of Imran Khan.
Large number of women, majority of them young, also participated in the rally and joined voice of men in sloganeering against the PPP and the PML-N leadership and in favour of Imran Khan.
Arrival of people in large numbers was surprising for everyone and even singer Shehzad Roy could not hide his feelings, saying that he never saw such a huge gathering in his life.
The Punjab government made elaborate security arrangements at the venue of the PTI rally to avoid any untoward incident. Besides large-scale deployment of police, security agencies installed CCTV cameras to keep a close eye on the participants.
According to Associated Press, a crowd of over 100,000 flag-waving supporters attended the PTI rally.
As per Washington Post, at least 100,000 people gathered to see Imran Khan.
AFP said tens of thousands came to the rally.
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