– Today’s Pakistan contrary to Quaid’s vision, says Imran at Minar-e-Pakistan rally
LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, addressing his party’s power show at the iconic Minar-e-Pakistan, lamented that today’s Pakistan is neither the vision of Quaid-e-Azam nor Allama Iqbal.
Addressing the rally, Imran, who earlier dubbed it a “Tsunami plus show”, expressed his gratitude to the participants for turning out in large numbers to witness the “historic” gathering.
“Whenever I gave a call to you, you never disappointed me,” he told the crowd.
Speaking about an 11-point agenda to make a “naya” (new) Pakistan, he said, “Ask yourself, why was this country made? Why, on this ground in 1940, did Quaid-e-Azam declare that we want Pakistan?”
Pakistan, today, is contrary to Quaid and Allama Iqbal’s vision, he rued.
“The Pakistan that Quaid-e-Azam wanted would afford equal rights to all citizens including the minorities, where the Hindu community, Sikhs, and Christians would be equal citizens. This country was to be formed on the model of Madina, where the basis of law was justice,” Imran said.
Quoting Prophet Mohammad’s (PBUH) example, the PTI chief said, “Prophet (PBUH) brought the entire Muslim nation towards truth and righteousness by way of his own example. The Muslim nation then ruled the entire world for 700 years but as soon as the royal system of kingdoms was established, the poor became poorer and the rich became richer.”
Referring to a visit by Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi to the United States earlier this year, Imran said it was embarrassing for Pakistan to see its PM treated [with lack of dignity] at US airports.
“We are on crossroads today, on one end it’s disrespect and on the other, it’s dignity.”
Pointing to the foreign debt situation, he said the country is approaching a disaster. “We don’t have money to pay back loans and we’re taking loans to pay back loans.”
Pakistan has the highest number of out-of-school children after Nigeria, he noted.
Lamenting the state of healthcare in the country, Imran recounted his late mother’s battle with cancer and how it spurred him to build Shaukat Khanum Cancer Hospital.
“When my mother was diagnosed with cancer, I found out for the first time that Pakistan did not have treatment for cancer,” he said, as he recalled how the tragedy changed his life forever.
It was then that I learned, there were two [divisions] in our society: the rich, who could afford to travel abroad for expensive treatment, and the poor, who watched their loved ones die helpless, he narrated.
“It was then that I decided to enter politics, to make a just and equal Pakistan.”
“Remember this, an indebted country can never really be free,” he added.
Recalling his party’s struggle, Imran said people used to mock them. “In the first election, we got none, in the second election we got one seat. But today, we are the largest party in Pakistan. Time will prove that no one can defeat PTI.”
Imran Khan’s 11-point agenda
Laying out the 11-point agenda which, according to him, will help bring “one system of justice, reduce poverty and elevate the living standards of the poor”, Imran started with education.
“No country can ever flourish without emphasizing on the education…all the Asian Tigers educated their children, the men, and the women,” said the PTI chief.
“3.5 crore children study in government schools. Half of Punjab’s budget is being spent on Lahore [alone]. I ask Shehbaz Sharif who’s ruling Punjab for 10 years, how many international-level universities did he establish?”
“Countries don’t flourish because of the roads and bridges, but when you spend on human development,” Imran lashed out at the present government, adding that the PTI will “invest maximum on the development of the people, on one education system in Pakistan.”
The second point is about reforming the health system, he said. “When I can make SKMCH without government, I will [build] hospitals in Pakistan where the poor wouldn’t have to worry about money and the rich wouldn’t need to go abroad for treatment.”
Imran vowed to introduce a health insurance system modeled on the ‘Sehat Sahulat’ card in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the poor across Pakistan.
3. Revenue generation
Next up is how to generate revenue in order to rid the country of heavy debts, he said.
“We don’t have money to run the country, we are in heavy debt. I claim in front of you today that I will show you how to gather money from this nation,” said Imran as he resolved to revolutionize tax collection system in the country.
Citing the example of his decision to expel 20 MPAs from his party for “selling votes” in the Senate elections earlier this year, Imran promised the people he will eliminate corruption from the country.
“We will stop money laundering, we will strengthen the NAB and FBR.”
Imran termed the overseas Pakistanis as the biggest investing potentials for the country and resolved to bring investments into Pakistan.
“We will reduce the tax on electricity and gas for our industries so that they could compete with Indian market,” he said.
Promising the youth much better employment opportunities, Imran said he would especially focus on boosting the tourism industry of Pakistan.
Imran said he would improve agriculture and the lives of farmers on ‘an emergency basis.’
“They work for the whole year and get nothing in the end. They are being exploited by the sugar mill mafia.”
The PTI chief resolved to strengthen the federation.
“We know how the injustice is being done to smaller provinces. I know more about Khyber Pakhtunkhwa,” he said.
Imran said the environment was a priority on the party’s manifesto.
“For the first time ever, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government paid special attention to the environment,” he said, adding that the party plans to plant 10 billion trees across Pakistan.
“We can even clean the rivers,” he said.
10. Police system
He stressed the importance of justice and the police system.
“Our Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police is totally depoliticized. There’s no victimization via FIRs, there not a single extrajudicial killings in the province while in Sindh Rao Anwar killed 400 people.”
Imran promised the women of Pakistan to educate them.
“Whatever I am today, it’s all because of my mother who made me a patriotic person and raised me to be a truthful person.”
Give chance to PTI for once: Shah Mahmood
PTI vice-chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi called on the people to give a chance to the party for once, and see the difference.
“This country saw dictatorship, all kinds of ups and downs.. People gave a chance to PPP four times, elected Nawaz Sharif three times, but is there any change?”
“Did people’s lives get any better after repeatedly giving a chance to PPP or PML-N? Now for once, give a chance to PTI and see the difference,” he said.
“Only Imran Khan can help change this country for the better,” he added.
Stand with Imran because I want change: Sheikh Rasheed
Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rasheed, addressing the congregation, said he has chosen to stand with Imran Khan and PTI because he was resolved to bring a change in the country.
“I want a change for the poor. There is no water, no electricity, no gas, no jobs, no governance. This Motorway and this Green Line, they have been built out of your pockets,” he lashed out at the ruling PML-N.
“These fraudsters, they are only honest till the next elections. I see an end to Nawaz [family] politics. In Pakistan, one thief goes, another thief comes.”
“I see Imran Khan as the most suitable, honest candidate. People make mistakes. But his conscience is clean. He is the image of Quaid’s vision for Pakistan,” Rasheed continued.
Saluting the Chief Justice of Pakistan, he said that Justice Saqib Nisar is waging jihad against the injustices and poverty.
He added that he could have continued to build his party, but he instead chose to support the PTI and Imran Khan.
Will make one Pakistan, not two: Fawad Chaudhry
Addressing the gathering, PTI spokesperson Fawad Chaudhry said his party, once in power, would make a unified “one Pakistan, not two Pakistans”.
“We will make a Pakistan where thousands others like Maryam [Nawaz] can access [quality] healthcare like she is able to ensure for her [ailing] mother,” said Fawad.
The public has spoken: Sarwar
PTI leader Senator Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar, during his address, congratulated the nation for ensuring a successful and historic congregation.
“The public has spoken: Lahore, Punjab and Pakistan belongs to PTI,” he said. “The public has spoken: Imran Khan is the next prime minister of Pakistan.”
“Today, we are laying the foundation of a new Pakistan. We want a Pakistan where everyone is equal before law,” he continued.
He added that in Imran Khan’s Pakistan, all the power would lie with the municipal institutions, and called on the public to ensure PTI’s success.
Imran Khan will restore country’s dignity: Mazari
PTI leader Shireen Mazari vowed that Imran Khan will restore Pakistan’s dignity and “avenge the harm Nawaz Sharif has inflicted on the country.”
“Indian occupying forces are killing innocent Kashmiris, and what did Nawaz Sharif do? [He threw parties] at Jati Umra, he let the blood of the innocent spill.”
Imran Khan will avenge it, she said.
The Lahore you see is not the whole picture: Aleem Khan
PTI leader Aleem Khan said when in power, the PTI will work to ensure an exemplary education and health system across the country.
“The Lahore you see is masked Lahore. The image [Nawaz] shows of Lahore is not the whole picture,” he criticised.
“We’ll bring a health system in Pakistan just like Shaukat Khanum’s, where there’s no difference between the rich and the poor. The schools will be on the pattern of NAMAL university where deserving students will be given scholarship,” Aleem vowed.
“Nawaz, you looted more than Zardari,” he alleged, promising the people that “the day Imran Khan is PM, we’ll drag both Zardari and Sharif on the streets of Gawalmandi and bring back all the looted money of Pakistan.”
Imran Khan will bring system of justice: Asad Umar
PTI senior leader Asad Umar said Imran Khan will bring a system of justice to the country where “millions of children won’t be out of school and youth won’t need a reference to get a job.”
“The looters who made properties abroad have been asked to pay only 2% tax, while our middle class will pay more than 50% tax on basic utilities,” he lamented.
Shehbaz failed to take care of farmers: Tareen
Speaking about agriculture, senior leader Jahangir Khan Tareen said Shehbaz Sharif’s government in Punjab failed to take care of the farmers.
“A poor farmer has a separate Pakistan, he is deprived of his basic rights,” Tareen said, adding that the farmers will take revenge through their vote.
“It is the government’s responsibility that the poor farmers are provided with the loans, seeds and the reasonable rates which they deserve,” he added.
KP province topping surveys in human development: Khattak
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) chief minister Pervez Khattak presented the example of his province in areas of human development.
“We have tried our best to make a common man’s life better [in KP], you can check all the surveys of education, health, human development, KP topped [them all],” he pointed out.
The chief minister recalled that when his government took over, the province suffered from terrorism.
“Thank God, today with the hard work of police and other institutions peace is back in KP.”
Prior to this, the PTI had held a rally at Minar-e-Pakistan on October 30, 2011. Organisers claimed that today’s rally would attract similar if not larger crowds.
Imran Khan on Saturday spoke to local and foreign journalists about Pakistan’s foreign policy, saying it fell under the purview of civilian government. However, he said, it is necessary to discuss security matters with other institutions.
About Pakistan’s dialogue with India, Imran said talks could not be held as Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s did not have a mindset for negotiations. Nevertheless, he had asked India [in the past] not to close doors for dialogue, the PTI chief added.
Regarding the tribal areas, Imran said the merger of Federally Administered Tribal Areas in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa was necessary but Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl chief Maulana Fazl-ur-Rehman and Pakhtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party chief Mehmood Achakzai were coming in its way.
New party songs
As a part of preparations for the rally, PTI has also released three party songs, one of which has been sung by Rahat Fateh Ali Khan titled Dam Mast Qalandar.
The lyrics of the song have been penned by PTI leader Usman Dar.
The songs deal with the theme of ending corruption and iqama.