LAHORE  - PTI Chairman Imran Khan, withdrawing his offer to call off tsunami march on August 14 provided rulers would assure him of holding a genuine probe into 2013 poll rigging, Wednesday declared that his party would go for a long march on Islamabad as per schedule.

However, what the previously called tsunami march was renamed as Azadi March (freedom march), probably to indicate that the initiative was aimed at getting the nation rid (Azad) of the rulers on the day of birth of Pakistan.  It may be mentioned here that The Nation, in its exclusive story on June 27, had unveiled the three proposed names for the banner of PTI long march of which one was ‘freedom march or Azadi March’.

The PTI high command narrowed down three names for its drive against flawed electoral system, which includes tsunami march, justice march and transparent polls march, while tsunami march was finalized by party’s core committee and Imran Khan announced the same during it Bahawalpur show of support on June 27.

Imran in a grand meeting participated by party MNAs, MPAs and senior leaders at a local hotel announced that tsunami march under the new title of Azadi March (freedom march) would definitely be launched as per schedule on August 14 and would not be called off till winning the real independence for people.  Senior party leaders when inquired about the reason for a sudden change of name of the long march, said Azadi March (freedom march) carried a much broader impact than tsunami march keeping in view the launch of the march on Independence Day.  They informed that changing the title of party’s long march banner was decided in a recent high-level party meeting.

Imran, addressing the party MPs and senior leaders, has directed them to start an ‘aggressive drive’ for bringing at least one million people in the Azadi March or freedom march.  He said in an aggressive tone: The marchers under the banner of Azadi March would not leave Islamabad till a change in the electoral system in which no educated or middle class member of the society could reach the power corridors.  PTI chairman while inviting other political forces to join him on August 14 said in a judgmental tone that non acceptance of his invitation would expose the forces of status quo among the political ranks.  “The politicians or political groups who want to change the corrupt system to bring real democracy and rule of people would join us,” he said.

Imran said, “We tried all options to purge the electoral system of the corrupt practices for establishing the rule of real democracy for ensuring true independence but the rulers and authorities concerned are reluctant to allow the real democracy make its way”.

“The only option left with PTI is to take to streets of the country and reaching Islamabad through a massive march with the overwhelming support of the masses for changing the electoral system of the country”.

Referring to PML-N ministers’ criticism over proposed long march during the military operation and IDP crisis, Imran warned the ruling party against taking political mileage by cashing in on the IDPs crisis.

He added: PML-N should not capitalize on IDP crisis for political gains. I hold Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif responsible for IDPs crisis since he should have visualized the crisis before the operation, provided he would have spared time from his business.

He said, “The rulers had left no room for the masses to bring change. Now it has become everybody’s war as it is neither Imran’s war nor the PTI’s war.”

Imran questioned: How could a prime minister remained ignorant about the biggest military operation as a result of which govt could face over a million IDPs issue.

He claimed that federal government was handling IDP crisis poorly, while KPK government had been facing dearth of resources and serious lawlessness problems as even police stations were being attacked.

PTI chairman said despite lack of resources, KPK government had taken a number of quick arrangements for IDPs including complaint cells, field hospitals and collection of relief donations.

Senior party leaders Makhdoom Javed Hashmi, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Ijaz Chaudhry, Khursheed Mehmood Kasuri, Naeemul Haq, Shafqat Mehmood, PTI MNAs and MPAs attended the party meeting.