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KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said that by-elections to be held on Sunday in two national assembly (NA) constituencies in Karachi are not just polls, but a national referendum, in which people will decide whether they continue to live in slavery of ‘thieves’ or support PTI for their ‘self-respect and freedom.’

Addressing a public really here in Shah Faisal Colony area, the PTI Chief said that he is going to call for ‘the biggest march in the history of the country’, which will have a sea of people.

Terming Karachi the “finance engine of Pakistan”, Imran said the city ran the country on the economic front, adding its people were sensible and politically aware. The ex-PM said that his government initiated the Karachi Circular Railway project along with the Green Line Bus service. “We also started the K4 project that was on the back burner for 14 years.”

Imran said his next stopover would be interior Sindh where, according to him, he would lead a drive to “free people from the clutches of Zardari”.

Imran Khan said that after a ‘historic long march’ of his party, (though he did not give any specific date for it), his next focus would be the interior Sindh.

ECP rejects govt's request to postpone by-polls

“For the first time in my 26-year political struggle, I have realized the people of interior Sindh are waiting for freedom against ‘Zardari mafia’. He said he will be visiting every district of the Sindh province.

Khan took a jibe at his former ally, and now political rival, MQM, saying: “Should I ask MQM as if they are happy with Asif Ali Zardari. Has he resolved issues pertaining to Karachi?”

The former Prime Minister of Pakistan said his government was toppled through a ‘foreign conspiracy’, and an ‘imported government’ was installed. He asked people to come out of their homes, and support PTI for a peaceful and bright future for their generations, and the country.

“Those who have imposed these ‘crooked’ rulers have done a great injustice with the nation, and the history will not forgive them,” said the PTI chief, in a veiled reference to the movers and shakers of the state affairs.

He said that the people of Karachi have always been educated and politically aware, and this is the reason why prominent political movements began from this megacity. The country is at a crossroad, and PTI needs support of Karachiites, he said.

He said ‘dacoits’ have been looting the country for the last 30 years. They have been plundering the national wealth with impunity, and fleeing the country to avoid accountability. Later, they return home with getting an NRO, and this cycle continues for the last many decades. They are becoming richer, while the nation is getting poorer, he said.

He alleged that the incumbent coalition government led by PML-N has broken all past records of inflation. The rupee has devalued by 30 percent against the US dollar in the last six months. The plundered national wealth of corrupt rulers, parked in foreign bank accounts, has increased by 30 percent due to this rupee devaluation, he said.

The cricketer-turned politician said the price of 10kg flour bag was Rs 550 in PTI government, which has now gone up to Rs 1100. Power and gas prices have also steeply shoot up. The essential food items are out of reach of the salaried class, he said.

Khan also lashed out at the Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, accusing him of tarnishing the image of Pakistan internationally, through his acts and statements. During his 20-minute speech, Khan showed separate video clips of PM Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, and Hassan Nawaz on which they were making contradictory statements related to their family wealth.

Separately, while speaking to lawyers in the Karachi Bar, the former prime minister said that the nation is facing a “decisive time” as if “big thieves” keep getting NROs then the country would not have a future.

He said that lawyers understand the need for upholding the law and that is why they should support his cause.

“Powerful people steal money and launder it abroad. This is why, I am waging jihad and I want all of you to support me,” the ex-prime minister said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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