ISLAMABAD - As part of its next line of action to press the government, the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf on Friday announced that it would hold countrywide protests to pressure the prime minister to resign.
“The PTI tigers will hold protests in four big cities on Saturday (today) including Karachi, Lahore, Multan and Faisalabad and the next day we’ll decide in how many cities such protests would be held,” said party chief Imran Khan. He added that these protests would keep on spreading until their demand of the PM’s resignation was fulfilled.
“From today, protests would start and then we’ll announce in which cities Azadi Marches would be held,” Khan said and asked his supporters to continue with his civil disobedience movement.
The PTI chief also predicted that their victory was near what he has started smelling victory as the opponents due to fear of defeat have started doing mistakes. He questioned the government to tell why it doubled the electricity tariff and advised his supporters not to pay the electricity bills. “Civil society has burnt to ashes the electricity bills in a stadium and now the farmers have decided not to pay the bills,” he said.
The rifts within the Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaaf became crystal clear when Imran Khan in his Friday afternoon address before a thin crowed of supporters said, “I would expel those parliamentarians from the party who would not resign,” he said and asked that the party MPs to submit their resignations. According to sources, Khan has had asked his party lawmakers to resign from the assemblies; otherwise they would not be given party ticket in the next elections. He has also conveyed to them that next party election was imminent.
Three members of the National Assembly (MNAs) of PTI have so far not submitted their resignations while five resignations have been declared in valid as these were addressed to the party chief instead of the National Assembly speaker. There were some media reports that the PTI MNAs from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa have formed a forward block and were reluctant to give resignations.
Reacting on the Prime Minister’s remarks in the National Assembly that the protesting parties first asked the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) to play his role for mediation, Khan denied this and said that his party never approached the army chief to mediate. He said that this was the government who first asked the army to mediate. “If you (PM) tell a lie in the National Assembly, who will trust you,” he asked the PM.
PTI chairman Imran Khan asked his supporters that they would not leave the sit-in until the PM would not resign. “The government wants us to leave the venue and if we do so, the pressure on the government would release and then it will start backtracking all its promises like the past,” he said adding that they would not let the government do this.
Giving his future reforms agenda, Khan said that he would bring uniform education system in the country and then focus on health system. He claimed that he would bring back the looted money abroad including Rs 200 billion dollars lying in banks of Switzerland. “We would change the judicial system and police station culture,” he reiterated his stance. He claimed that as long as Nawaz Sharif would remain the PM, the country could not get rid of the burden of loans.
Khan alleged that the expenditure of Nawaz government on foreign tours was Rs4.3 million per day, pre day expenditure of the PM House was Rs2 million and the annual expenditure on the security of Raiwaind, the personal residence of Sharif family, was in millions.
The PTI chief said that he could already see the glimpse of the victory, adding that he doesn’t fear defeat. He said that the genie is out of the bottle and that it couldn’t be sent back now. He said, “I am told my politics will end if I lose…if my supporters leave the protest march, my politics will end…I tell them think what will happen when I win” He said, “A champion only thinks about victory… if I win, I’ll show you a new Pakistan.”
Khan said to the cheering crowd that the change has already come and that he thanks God after every prayer that He has awaken the whole nation. He said “the Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif at one point said he will tear open Zardari’s stomach to bring back the looted amount but Shahbaz Sharif has now become Zardari’s driver as he drove him the ride home from airport.” He alleged that Opposition Leader in National Assembly Khursheed Shah also has corruption charges and that this is why he is defending the government and the current system.
Talking about the model of his welfare state in the historic context, he said Muslims made world’s best welfare state and that Madina was the world’s best welfare state. “Islam talks about the supremacy and uniformity of law for everyone”, he said.