ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supremo Imran Khan Sunday warned that he would lead the country’s largest-ever protest movement if any move was made to amend Article 62 of the Constitution.
“There is a conspiracy in progress aimed to scrap Article 62, which makes it mandatory for the elected representatives to be Sadiq (truthful) and Ameen (honest),” Khan said while addressing a public gathering here in Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi.
“PTI will thwart any such efforts and thousands of people will protest in Islamabad against such move,” Khan warned while referring to an earlier speech by Nawaz Sharif in Lahore where he said there was a need to amend the Constitution.
He strongly criticised Sharif’s recent public statements and his GT Road rally, claiming it was a last-ditch effort on behalf of the PML-N to pressurise the National Accountability Bureau, which is investigating Sharif family members in light of the apex court’s judgment in the Panamagate case.
Khan said Sharif had been falsely claiming that the judiciary had stolen the people’s mandate by disqualifying him.
“The people of Pakistan never gave you mandate to steal public money and indulge in money laundering,” he said.
“During the 2013 election campaign, Sharif had promised the public that Pakistan will be made an Asian tiger,” Khan observed, adding that he failed to fulfil the promise against which people had bestowed him their mandate.
He said Nawaz’s recent statements seem to suggest he is busy conspiring against the army and the judiciary.
“The days of attacking institutions have gone. I challenge you (Sharif) that I will gather 10 times more people in support of the judiciary and the army than the crowds you attracted during your GT Road rally,” Khan said.
“Nawaz Sharif has gotten used to using state institutions for his [corrupt] purposes, and this is the first time he has failed to do so. [Sharif] is calling it a conspiracy, but I want to tell you that in our new Pakistan, people like you will not be able to buy the loyalties of institutions anymore,” he said.
He said two types of people were still supporting Nawaz Sharif, those who have financial interests attached to him, and those who are innocent but were being played by Sharif. “But it will not last for long, as he cannot fool all of the people all of the time,” he said.
Giving the blueprint of his vision about his new Pakistan, Khan said that when the PTI comes to power, its first struggle would be against poverty. He gave the example of China, which managed to pull 500 million people out of poverty, adding that today, China is the leading economy in the world.
“A system of taxation supporting the poor will be established, while reforms will be introduced in the health and education sectors, and government-owned facilities would provide state-of-the-art education and health to the poor.”
He said a merit-based system would be introduced in Pakistan as no society can progress without ensuring merit. He pointed at state entities such as PIA, saying they failed due to the absence of merit there.
“Departments and institutions have collapsed due to political interference and today, Pakistan is far behind the rest of South Asia. Family parties have failed Pakistan because they do not even follow merit within their political parties.”
Khan took the opportunity to praise the K-P Police, education, health, and forest departments, which he claimed had transformed into better working entities under the PTI-led provincial government.
He said accountability would be ensured at every level in the new Pakistan. “Without accountability, there can be no good governance,” he said.
Returning to China, he claimed the fact that “they punished 200 government ministers and 1.1 million government employees involved in corruption cases” was a factor in their economic successes.
He said a PTI government in the centre would also ensure the protection of Pakistan’s environment. “A clean and green Pakistan will ensure a better future for our next generations,” he said while claiming that the K-P government has received unanimous global praise for its billion tree campaign. He said the campaign would be extended to the whole of Pakistan when the PTI came to power.
Khan also praised Sheikh Rashid for his unending struggle against the ‘political mafia’ for the past eight years.
In his speech, AML chief Rashid, who organised the event, claimed there was a plan to assassinate him on the day of election of the prime minister, adding that paid assassins were hired for the purpose.
He then criticised Nawaz Sharif and the PML-N, saying it had indulged in corrupt practices during the Nandipur power project and other projects.
Rashid said he always challenged the status quo and would continue to do so, come what may.
He said the punishment that the SC gave the Sharif family was minor when compared to the scale of their crimes.
Earlier, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said it appears strange when Nawaz Sharif talks about the people’s mandate as in the past, he stole Benazir Bhutto’s mandate several times.
“PML-N ruled at the centre thrice and in Punjab six times during the last 25-plus years, but [Sharif] failed to bring a revolution. Now such empty slogans will not work anymore,” Qureshi said while referencing Sharif’s last speech in Lahore, where the former prime minister claimed he and the people of Pakistan will bring a revolution in Pakistan.
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