ISLAMABAD:(APS)November 2, 2016- Thousands of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) supporters, led by Imran Khan and accompanied by other party leaders, gathered at Parade Ground in the federal capital to ‘celebrate victory’, following the Supreme Court hearing of Panamagate petitions.
The PTI chief thanked party lawmakers from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for their bravery during the run-up to November 2 ‘lockdown’, with Imran hailing Pervez Khattak as a hero of Pakistan.
Imran started his speech by saying that he waits for the day when “Nawaz Shairf and his brother are put behind bars.
He also questioned the prime minister if he was not ashamed when the women workers of PTI were manhandled.
“Nawaz has been inaugurating one road after another since the Panama leaks came to the forefront.”
Imran also targetted his political opponents and hurled allegations at them.
“Fazl-ur-Rehman, in the past you were making money from diesel permits, now you are taking money from Nawaz Sharif,” said Imran while addressing the massive gathering of party supporters.
“Asif Zardari and Khursheed Shah are afraid of accountability as they are predicting its PPP term in the next elections.
This is not a solo flight and I am not going solo in the fight against corruption. I have millions of Pakistanis with me,” said Imran while replying to the earlier criticism he had received from the ruling party.
Referring to allegations of ‘armed supporters’, Imran claimed there were no weapons with the PTI workers and the “only weapon present was Shiekh Rasheed’s cigar”.
“I warn you Sharif brothers, do not use the police like you did in the past few days,” said Imran while referring to police actions taken in the run-up to the planned Nov 2 ‘lockdown.
Imran reiterated it was the people’s right under a democracy to stage protest against corruption. The PTI chief also hailed the supreme court’s verdict.
He also questioned the effectiveness of national institutions including the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and said, “Supreme Court asked NAB officials why they did not work on accountability of Nawaz Sharif.”
Imran also referred to the “Charter of Democracy” as an instrument of compromise and corruption. He alleged that the charter has been used by both Nawaz and Zardari to indulge in ‘wholesale corruption’.
As a final message to the participants of the rally, Imran said “Pakistan has changed, a new era has begun. From tomorrow the accountability will start in the Supreme Court of Pakistan.
Earlier in the evening, PTI leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the party “only wanted to shutdown the practice of corruption”.
“They said we were coming to close Islamabad, but we don’t want to do so since it is not our manner of doing politics,” said Qureshi.
“If Imran Khan orders, we can close the federal capital tonight, but we will not do so.”
Qureshi also paid tribute to the arrested workers of PTI. “We also salute our brothers and sisters who set off from Khyber Pakhtunkwa,” he said.
“I wish we had more days, they would have understood what we are made of,” said KP Chief Minister Pervez Khattak. “PTI had teams ready to continue their struggle.”
“They tried to use our Pashtun brothers against us, by having FC troops deployed to stop us,” added Khattak.
“I wish for the day when you [Shahbaz Sharif] will be fired upon, then I will ask you how it feels.”
Khattak said he does not care about his ‘chair’, as he has been a political prisoner and he would have thrown out his ‘chair’ if Imran asked. “I will resign from my post whenever Imran Khan asks me to do so.
Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed also addressed the gathering and expressed hope that “this Supreme Court of Pakistan will save the country from disaster”.
The AML chief referred to the prime minister as a friend of Modi. “Nawaz Sharif wants to transform Pakistan Army into Punjab police,” alleged the veteran politician.
Rasheed was of the view that “China saved Pakistan from being labelled as a rogue state”.
KP lawmaker Farman Shah, while addressing the PTI workers earlier in the eveing, said: “We are not against Punjab, we are against the PML-N.”
We are not against the federation, we are against thieves,” he asserted.
Pivoting from protest to peaceful celebration, the PTI chief on Tuesday had changed its plan from November 2 ‘lockdown’ to a day of thanksgiving in Islamabad.
Party supporters chanted “Go Nawaz Go” slogans upon the arrival of Imran Khan at the rally. PTI’s party anthems were played from the stage and workers waved party flags.
Three entry points were established at the Parade Ground; one for media, one for VIPs and one for general public.
The interior ministry said that more than 10,000 policemen were deployed to perform security duties at the Parade Ground.