Game on, Imran tells Nawaz

Game on, Imran tells NawazKARACHI – Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan called out Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Nawaz Sharif at a mammoth public gathering at Quaid-i-Azam’s mausoleum here on Sunday, challenging the two-time former prime minister to play the “10-over match” with him before he ran out of players for his team.

The PTI set a record in Karachi by holding the largest ever rally in Pakistan’s economic hub, a massive gathering that was beyond the expectations of political analysts and observers, who were claiming it would be a lukewarm affair. Imran welcomed former PML-N senior vice president Makhdoom Javed Hashmi into the PTI and hailed his bravery. He also hinted at the “fall of another political wicket” in the days to come.“I had decided that I would not point fingers at any political party, but after the PML-N chief challenge me to a 10-over match, I have changed my decision and I welcome Nawaz Sharif’s challenge. But I will suggest to you (Nawaz) to please be quick so you don’t run out of players for your team,” said Imran. “I also wanted to play a match with President (Asif Ali) Zardari, but he was retired hurt,” he added. Imran promised the people on Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah’s birth anniversary that he would turn the great leader’s dream of an Islamic welfare state into reality. “I promise you that I will do what Jinnah desired,” he told thousands of people gathered at Bagh-e-Jinnah here. He promised the nation that he would make Pakistan a just society and would enforce justice if he succeeded in his cause. “Quaid-i-Azam never bowed before anyone and he never wanted you to bow before anyone,” Khan said, adding that on the great leader’s birthday and in front of his mausoleum, “I will ensure that you don’t have to bow before anyone”.

He said he would introduce a strong justice system in Pakistan under which free justice would be provided to everyone. “Even animals have access to better justice in Europe than human beings in Pakistan,” he said. The PTI chief said he would bring together a team that would be selected on merit to transform Pakistan into a welfare state. “My team will play under Jehangir Tareen to present economic policies, labour policies, tax reforms, education policies as well as foreign policies before the nation, and there will be a policy paper on all issues,” he said. “If the PTI comes to power, it will organise two seminars every month and consult the public for its policies,” he added. “During PTI’s rule, a civil system will be introduced which will ensure that even Imran Khan’s car is stopped for over-speeding,” he said. Talking about agricultural reforms, he said free seeds would be provided to farmers while fertiliser would be supplied at cheap rates to maximise produce.

“A Chinese company wanted to bring $19 billion investment to Pakistan but it could not because of fear and ongoing corruption in the country,” he said, adding that this was only one example and there were a number of global private firms who wanted to invest in Pakistan but were afraid of political instability and corruption in the country.“They need surety that their investment would be safe,” he said, adding that major corruption would be eliminated within 90 days of the PTI coming into power. “Pakistan is suffering a loss of Rs 3 billion every day because of corruption and there is a dire need for reforms in the tax collection system,” he added. “You don’t need rocket science [to solve this problem], just bring a team of honest leaders that carries out self-accountability,” said the PTI chief. Responding to chants of “Go Zardari Go” from the participants, he said Zardari’s days in the Presidency were numbered. Imran also apologised to the people of Balochistan and promised to address their grievances through development. He also announced that the PTI would hold its next public gathering in Quetta and said the “tsunami” that started from Lahore would now reach Quetta on March 23. He also wished a “merry Christmas” to the Christian community and thanked people for participating in such huge numbers. He especially thanked a man named Zulfiqar Ali, who he said had sold his mobile phone to come to Karachi all the way from Dera Ghazi Khan to attend the rally. He congratulated citizens of Karachi for “beating” the “tsunami of Lahore”.

“I put together a team and won the World Cup … the same team went ahead and established Shaukat Khanum … now I want you all to come with me to make a new Pakistan,” he said. Addressing the gathering, Makhdoom Javed Hashmi announced a ‘rebellion’ against the cruel and corrupt people. “I am a rebel and this rebel has joined the PTI for enforcement of justice and to root out corruption from society,” he said. He criticised the Punjab government for disparity within the province. “Youth is the future of Pakistan and I never saw such a large number of youth at a political gathering,” he said, adding that he would mobilise this youth to change Pakistan. Speaking to the participants about the national nuclear programme, former foreign minister and PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the programme was under no physical threat and the entire world should know it is impossible to attack the nuclear programme, but it was under threat from this civilian government. He said he was the first person who raised concerns over the US-India nuclear deal. “President Zardari called me and said that there is nothing wrong in the US-India deal, but I protested,” he said. Bagh-e-Jinnah, which has a capacity of around 200,000 people, was full to bursting with PTI supporters and the roads adjacent to the garden and the mausoleum were also teeming with people. The crowd was estimated to have comfortably exceeded the number of people who attended the PTI rally at Minar-e-Pakistan in Lahore on October 30. – pakistantoday