Former Pakistan prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party chief, Imran Khan, launched a scathing attack on the Shahbaz-Sharif led government at a massive rally at Minar-e-Pakistan late on Saturday (25 March) night.
The rally conducted, despite the threat of an attack on Khan, was addressed by him behind a bullet-proof glass.
There was total media blackout of the rally, as the Shehbaz-Sharif-led government denied permission to the local media for the coverage of the event.
The Lahore Police had reportedly blocked all the main roads to Minar-i-Pakistan. Internet services were also cut off in parts of Lahore, affecting the rally site and forcing people to walk long distances to reach the venue.
During the rally, Imran Khan criticised the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led government and military establishment for arresting and torturing over 2,000 of his party workers.
He believed that the turnout of the rally conveyed a clear message to the Government that people's passion could not be stopped through hurdles and containers.
“One thing is clear, whoever is in power, they will get a message today that people’s passion cannot be curbed via hurdles and containers,” Khan said.
He even offered to sit at home if the government had any agenda to solve the country’s economic problems.
“The way the powerful circles are behaving in Pakistan today it seems that Imran Khan is the only problem of the country,” he added.
Khan highlighted his party's plan for economic growth, stressing the importance of making tough choices to increase tax revenue and exports.
“Only 2.5 million out of Pakistan's 220 million citizens pay taxes, and a major surgery is needed to put our house in order. Overseas Pakistanis will bring their dollars to the country, provided they are given incentives,” Khan said.
There is a need to increase the tax base to achieve progress, as well, Khan added.
Additionally, Khan suggested offering young individuals loans for start-ups and restarting an earlier mortgage scheme.
“I have completed a century of cases. I may cross 150. Poor spend their entire life-fighting false cases in this country. Pakistan has no future if there is no rule of law,” Khan lamented.
He added that ‘real freedom’ will only come if rule of law prevails in the country.
Khan said that despite Supreme Court’s orders, the Election Commission of Pakistan delayed Punjab Assembly Elections from the earlier 30 April to 8 October.
“How will we guarantee that the elections will be held even in October? The government and its handlers have only one-point agenda — how to stop me from returning to power.”
“All eyes are on the Supreme Court to establish rule of law by holding elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in 90 days,” Khan said.
Meanwhile, in an interim relief, the Lahore ATC granted bail to Imran in three cases for the violence on 14 and 15 March, outside the PTI chief's residence, between the police and PTI supporters .
The PTI chief is accused of corruption in the Toshakhana case. He is accused of illegally selling presents he received during his tenure as Pakistan’s prime minister from 2018-2022.
Khan was earlier disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan, in October last year, for not sharing details of the sales.
Editorial Associate at Swarajya. Writes on Indian Military and Defence.
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