Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Imran Khan kicked off his much-anticipated long March to the federal capital from Lahore on Friday.
Speaking to a charged crowed at Liberty Chowk, Lahore, the PTI chief said unlike the PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, he was “not a runaway that would either sit quietly here or criticise the military in London”.
“I am not going to leave this country. I will live and die in this country,” added the PTI chief.
“I want to see a Pakistan that is free and to have a free country you need a powerful military,” he added, “if your military is weakened then the country loses its freedom”.
Taking a jibe at DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum following his press conference a day earlier, Imran said that his party’s criticism was always constructive and was done for the betterment of the country.
“We do not wish to hurt our country,” he maintained.
“And I repeat myself,” he continued, “I could say a lot more, I could even answer you back. But, I do not want that the institutions of the country to be weakened”.
The PTI chief also said that the march will remain confined to the designated areas that the government has allowed them in Islamabad.
The former prime minister also countered that he never made any unconstitutional demands during “backdoor contacts”.
“I want free and fair elections. I want the people to decide who will lead the country — not Washington, America or anyone else,” Imran added.
The PTI has dedicated its long march to slain journalist Arshad Sharif, saying people must come out in large numbers if they wanted “actual change” in the country.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry and Asad Umar said Imran Khan was the only leader who could bring about “much-needed” change in Pakistan.
“You should take part in this march even if you do not belong to the PTI. The nation must reject decisions taken behind closed doors,” Fawad told a presser, adding that Imran would leave Zaman Park shortly and head towards Liberty Chowk.
Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Interior Rana Sanaullah made it clear that no mob would be allowed to challenge the state’s writ and every possible step would be taken to protect the life and property of the people.
Talking to the media after inaugurating the Passport Office at Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi Bar, the minister said that the government would allow Pakistan Tehreek Insaf to hold its gathering in the federal capital according to the Supreme Court of Pakistan and the Islamabad High Court verdicts.
Answering a question, he rejected the impression of any Governor Rule in Punjab and KP provinces, adding that the Federal Cabinet would decide the matter.
Ahead of the long march, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb said that the nation has rejected the call for “bloody march” by refusing to become a slave to the foreign-funded person who violated the constitution.
In her tweet in reaction to PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry’s tweet, she said that Pakistan’s youth could not become the protectors of “the system of Tosha Khana thief, Farah Gogi and Bushra Bibi”.
The minister maintained that the people have refused to become pawns in one person’s lust for power.