JHELUM/ISLAMABAD - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday said that his struggle against what he said ‘thieves’ would continue whether it is raining or hot weather.

Addressing party workers here in Jhelum, the former prime minister said that he is fighting for the supremacy of law in Pakistan. “I am not doing politics (but) I am fighting for real freedom. I have struggled for 26 years while remaining within the boundaries of law and Constitution,” he said.

Talking about the Sharif and Zardari families, Khan claimed that Pakistan was at the top before they ruled Pakistan. “Nawaz Sharif looted the country and is now telling us what to do,” he added.

The ex-premier said that the floods have affected Balochistan, Sindh and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“How will the provinces generate surplus after all the destruction caused by rains?” he asked, adding that KP’s Finance Minister Taimur Khan Jhagra has been asking to meet Finance Minister Miftah Ismail for two months.

The PTI chairman said that the government should hold talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). “Shehbaz Sharif and Miftah Ismail say that the IMF programme will be delayed because of us,” he said.

The former prime minister also questioned the government on what it was doing for the nation as the flood warning had come a long time ago.

“The government was making conspiracies instead of making policies to deal with floods,” he added.

While berating the allied parties, Khan claimed that they do not know how to run the government and that the PDM had been imposed on the nation.

Khan said that this conspiracy is not against him but to weaken the country’s democracy, adding that the [government] is cornering PTI and are trying to make me ineligible. He continued to say that the allied parties are scared of the elections because the PTI will beat them.

Says he is fighting for ‘real freedom, not doing politics’

PTI comes under fire for holding rallies despite floods

The opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) on Saturday came under severe criticism from rival politicians and on social media for continuing with its political rallies as part of its “Haqeeqi Azadi campaign” at a time when a humanitarian crisis has emerged in the country due to rain-induced floods.

On the other hand, the former prime minister Imran Khan’s party said that they would fight against the incumbent rulers and floods together.

PTI had announced rallies in major cities of the country to spearhead its election campaign for the upcoming by-polls on National Assembly seats.

The critics urged that PTI should have called off the political activities till relief and rescue operations for the flood-hit people are completed.

Minister for Foreign Affairs and Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari in a statement criticised the move of PTI to continue to hold rallies despite the floods have wreaked havoc in different parts of the country. He said that the opposition party can “play jalsa jalsa” if it chooses to, but his party and the Sindh government would prioritise relief efforts.

The foreign minister said that politics “can continue later” and the priority right now should be to provide relief to the people and they were focusing on the relief activities.

PPP Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar took to Twitter to denounce PTI after former information minister Fawad Chaudhry posted on social media a poster of PTI’s rally, which was held on Saturday evening  in Jhelum— the hometown of the PTI leader. “In bad taste. Thousands have been left without shelter and food. While the nation suffers, politics can surely wait,” said Khokhar.

On the other hand, Chairman PTI Imran Khan in a Twitter post clarified that “our movement for Haqeeqi Azadi will continue alongside our flood relief work.”

He said that the party’s senior leadership met and decided that he would do an international telethon to raise funds for flood affectees on Monday night. “Imran Tigers will be activated to volunteer for relief work.” He said that a committee under the supervision of Senator Sania Nishtar would be set up to identify and coordinate funds allocation based on needs.

PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry in a statement also said that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government was running a media campaign worth billions of rupees that PTI must suspend their campaign of “Haqeeqi Azadi” because of the floods in the country.

He said that the government had registered terrorism cases against opposition, channels were being closed, journalists were forced to leave the country and political workers were being subjected to violence. At the same time, the inflation in the country has reached up to 44 percent, he said. He added that in this situation if Khan suspends the political movement, these rulers would cause severe damage to masses.

Chaudhry urged that fighting the incumbent rulers and floods at the same time was the need of the hour. He also urged masses to come out for real independence.