Imran floats agenda for ‘new Pakistan’

Unfolding an 11-point agenda to turn the country into ‘Naya Pakistan’, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan told a rally at the iconic Minar-i-Pakistan on Sunday evening that elimination of corruption, self-reliance, health and education are top priorities of his party.
Mr Khan said no nation could survive and progress by investing in infrastructure only, promising that the PTI after coming to power would invest more and more in human development, particularly in the education and health sectors. He vowed that the PTI would introduce a uniform education system and ensure latest healthcare facilities for all.
The large participation of people from Lahore and other parts of the country in the PTI’s power show matched the party’s momentous Oct 30, 2011, rally. The gathering of families and young women, besides party workers and supporters, made the gathering true to Mr Khan’s resolve of “Tsunami Plus”.
Supporting his assertions through different videos, the PTI chief said only those countries became Asian tigers which invested in education. He chided PML-N president and Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif for failing to provide quality education and healthcare facilities to people despite spending Rs350 billion development funds. “With just Rs110 billion development budget of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the PTI government was able to develop better schools, colleges and hospitals,” he claimed.
Assails PPP and PML-N govts for doubling national debt during their tenures
Mr Khan said the two successive governments of Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz had multiplied national debt, which surpassed the collective debt of the previous 60 years. He explained that Pakistan’s collective debt stood at Rs6 trillion in 2008, but it reached Rs13 trillion under Asif Ali Zardari’s rule, while the incumbent PML-N government doubled the country’s debt as it stood at Rs27 trillion at present.
Promises to collect Rs8tr from Pakistanis
The PTI chief said he would collect money from Pakistanis, including those residing in other countries, to do away with the ever-increasing debt. “Self-reliance in Naya Pakistan will remain on top of our agenda,” he said. “We will collect Rs8,000 billion from the people of Pakistan through strong institutional reforms every year,” he said, adding that people had trust in him due to his honesty and integrity.
He said after coming to power he would massively cut taxes on electricity, gas and petrol.
Mr Khan said the PTI government would wage a war against corruption through strong institutions. He said he ousted 20 lawmakers from his party on corruption charges.
Chiding the incumbent PML-N government for ‘economic murder’ of farmers, Mr Khan said the PTI would announce “agriculture emergency” and take action against the sugar mills mafia. He said farmers would be given best seeds besides subsidies on electricity.
He also said his government would construct inexpensive five million houses for poor people.
South Punjab, Fata
The PTI chairman said his party would strengthen the federation so that smaller provinces did not feel deprived. He announced that the PTI government would declare “South Punjab” as a province with a population of some 110 million people.
Mr Khan said the people of Fata would also be brought to mainstream by giving them substantial development funds.
For women who do not approach police stations fearing harassment, Mr Khan said, women police stations would be set up. He said primary schools would be established to give quality education to girls. He said women would be given the right of inheritance through strong legislation and implementation.
Mr Khan said police would be made apolitical so that they check crime without taking any political pressure.
Chiding those working against the armed forces, Mr Khan expressed his support for the army and added that how they could defend Pakistan from foreign oppression, if they would not be properly funded.
He also vowed to introduce a programme for promoting tourism and better environment. He said he would not let the Pakistanis tread on the path of destruction any further and would “serve this brave nation till the last drop his blood”.
Earlier PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi addressing the rally said the nation had given four terms to the PPP and elected Nawaz Sharif as prime minister thrice yet every Pakistani was under Rs130,000 debt.
Mr Qureshi also charged the masses at the venue with different party slogans including seeking commitment that they would elect Mr Khan as prime minister. “Na teri wari na meri wari – Agli Imran di wari” (Neither your no mine – Next turn is of Imran Khan).
Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Pervez Khattak, ousted PTI leader Jehangir Tareen, party leaders Chaudhry Sarwar, Shirin Mazari, Abdul Aleem Khan and Fawad Chaudhry also spoke.
Also present on the stage, Awami Muslim League president Sheikh Rasheed announced his support for the PTI in all constituencies during the upcoming general elections.
Carrying his four-year-old daughter on his shoulders, Muhammad Hanif seemed to have a spring in his step as he was moving towards the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s public meeting at Greater Iqbal Park on Sunday.
At the gate for the common visitors he was struggling to enter the venue because of rush. But once in, there was a palpable sense of relief on his face. Asked why he was risking the life of his daughter by choosing this gate to enter the venue instead of the one meant for women and families, he said: “I did not think of it because I was so excited. Now I have managed to enter... it is fine,” said Hanif who came to the venue from Wasanpura.
Inadequate arrangements by police and party workers at the gate exposed the visitors to a stampede-like situation.
“I have come here to support Imran Khan believing himself to be the last hope for the country. He has raised a slogan against corruption and promised to deliver on every front. People should give him a chance,” said Hanif who said he used to support Benazir Bhutto before the 2013 election.
The PTI jalsa was impressive in size and significance reminiscent of the sights of the mammoth gathering of the party on Oct 30, 2011 when its supporters saw a scent of hope in the air.
As expected this time too, Greater Iqbal Park was splashed with hues of red and green, and came alive with the participants of all ages. Men and women came wearing scarves and caps, and children had their faces painted.
According to estimates, Sunday’s event was bigger than the one of 2011 and some PTI workers Dawn spoke to, attributed it to the fact that people had gathered from all over the country.
Contrary to the PML-N Quaid’s claim that the youth had stopped following Imran Khan, the young people turned up in droves. The Azadi Chowk bridge was filled with people who secured prime positions after getting there in the afternoon to have a clear view of the gathering.
Apart from those inside the venue, a large number of people were outside looking for refreshments because most of them had arrived from other parts of the country earlier in the day.
Muhammad Ali, along with other party supporters, travelled all the way to Lahore from Skardu. “I was an old worker of the PML-N but I quit it because it created no job opportunities for the people of my area. Now we are looking up to Imran Khan to go by his commitments about provision of health, education and jobs.”
Irfan, Azeem and Abdul Rehman, all residents of Jhelum, said they were undergraduate students and hoped that they would get jobs after completing their studies.
“I have come all the way from Jhang to attend this rally,” said Mubashir Ahmed, a shopkeeper.
“Khan Sb’s command is something we can’t ignore.” To show his love for the leader, Ahmed had chosen to wear sunglasses typically worn by the PTI leader. His wife and sisters accompanied him, both dressed in red and wearing green bangles. “I think he can bring about real change now,” said the PTI supporter.
While the political climate seemed sedate in many parts of the city where shops were shut and no one was seen outside on the roads in other parts, people were still readying to join in rally by mid afternoon.
At PTI’s Garden Town office a huge crowd of motorcyclists had collected along with three or four vans from an entourage from Sindh. Covered with party skins the vans spoke of promises that Imran Khan was making including “One Pakistan not two”.
Near the venue were those cashing in on the opportunity by selling small party flags and other paraphernalia.
“Today people from all walks of life should come out to show that they have the power to vote,” said Nargis, a schoolteacher. “This is how change will come... through us voters.”
“There were the avid supporters who have now begun to use the new buzzword “khilari” or player, aligning themselves to the PTI party imagery. But apart from these “players” who had begun filtering in even around 1pm when sun was blazing overhead, there were some others who remained cynical supporters of the party but still wanted to see what the “captain” would say.
Elsewhere in the city though previous PTI supporters who did not attend the rally spoke about their disillusionment. “The 2011 rally had more excitement and a more organic feel to it than this one,” said a university professor.
“The current situation seems a little forced even though a lot of people will be joining in. But the 2011 rally actually started a movement towards attracting more people especially the youth. There was promise, there was hope. Now it feels like more of the same,” he said.
Earlier in the day Ferozepur Road and Raiwind Road were blocked with a constant stream of vehicles coming in. The heat of the day did not stop people from traveling this far even though there were some cases of people fainting or being dehydrated.
“We are braving the heat to make our point,” said one man, “and our point is change.”



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South Punjab News : Imran floats agenda for ‘new Pakistan’
Imran floats agenda for ‘new Pakistan’
The large participation of people from Lahore and other parts of the country in the PTI’s power show matched the party’s momentous Oct 30, 2011, rally
South Punjab News
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