PTI president Pervaiz Elahi and other party leaders – including Asad Qaisar Pervez Khattak and Qasim Suri – were present on the stage.
Addressing the power show, Imran Khan praised party workers and supporters for reaching the venue despite ‘the hurdles created by the Punjab government’.
The PTI chief alleged that his government was overthrown under a ‘conspiracy’ and ‘gang of criminals’ were imposed on the country. “A message should be sent today that no one cannot curb the people’s passion by force,” he added.
Lambasting the Punjab government for ‘creating hurdles’, Imran Khan claimed they over 2,000 PTI workers have been taken and containers were placed to prevent party supporters from reaching the venue.
“The people of Pakistan have borne all kinds of oppression”, the former premier said, adding that a nation cannot progress if it does not ‘resists the oppression’. He added that a nation gets ‘real freedom’ when there is ‘supremacy of rule of law’.
“It is unfortunate that in the country’s history, our democratic leaders never upheld rule of law,” he said, adding that Constitution and law were abolished during martial law.
The former prime minister also lambasted the government for ‘registering bogus cases’ against him, saying that they have registered 143 ‘fake cases’ under several charges – including terrorism and blasphemy.
He also criticised Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) over ‘atrocities’ in interior Sindh, saying that people of interior Sindh were helpless as ‘Zardari Mafia’ was imposed on them.
Imran Khan also expressed pain over ‘severe torture’ unleashed on party worker Ali Bilal, also known as Zille Shah. Regretting that the incumbent rulers tortured and killed “a special child”, he vowed that the accused involved in ‘murder of Zille Shah’ will be punished as per the law.
He castigated the government for ‘picking up PTI workers’, saying that Dr Rubina was in her clinic when they picked her up from there. He also pointed out that PTI social media head Azhar Mashwani and Hassan Niazi were also ‘abducted’.
The PTI chairman added that PDM staged three long marches during PTI’s tenure but they created no hurdles in their way.
He noted that PTI took permission for a rally on March 8 to starts its election campaign from Zaman Park. However, he said, they suddenly got news that police started baton-charge and tear gas shelling. “They only wanted to create chaos. I called off the rally because I did not want bloodshed,” he added.
Imran Khan also lambasted the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) for ‘postponing’ the Punjab Assembly elections, questioning under which constitutional provision the commission had changed the date.
“According to the constitution, elections should be held within 90 days of dissolution of an assembly,” he said, adding that the ECP has violated the Supreme Court’s (SC) orders of holding the elections on April 30.
He questioned where will the money come from for holding elections in October as the country was heading towards default. “They lied that IMF [International Monetary Fund] demanded the postponement of elections,” he said, adding that the lender rebuffed ECP’s ‘lies’.
“They [the incumbent rulers] were somehow trying to bar me from contesting the elections,” he said, asking the lawyers community to ‘stand up’ for violation of court’s orders and against the ‘law of the jungle’.
The PTI chief pointed out that the country’s governance system has to be improved, stressing the need for supremacy of rule of law in this regard. “The way the government deals have to be completely changed”, he added.
“It will take time to increase country’s exports,” he said, pointing out ways to bring dollars to the country. Terming the overseas Pakistanis an ‘asset’, he said that they have to facilitate them for increasing the remittances.
“If we improve the governance system and impose rule of law, the problems will be solved”, he stressed, adding that it will also brings confidence into overseas Pakistanis.
Imran Khan claimed that 10 Pakistani businessmen in United States (US) possessed properties worth $25 billion. Citing a Bloomberg report, he said Pakistanis bought properties worth $10.4 billion in Dubai. “Unless we impose rule of law, we will not be able to bring investment in Pakistan”, he added.
Citing the example of China, Imran Khan said that the neigbouring country first ‘fixed and changed’ its system, then overseas Chinese came back and invested in their country. “If we come into power, we will put Pakistanis on export on short term plan”, he added.
The former prime minister noted that his government focused on information technology (IT) and its exports increased by 70 percent. “If PTI comes into power, this time we will bring a complete plan related to tourism”, he added.
“We will bring dollars to Pakistan by using natural resources and minerals”, he said, adding that his government had discussed agriculture plan with China. “We will also bring restructuring programmes related to institutions like railways and PIA [Pakistan International Airline].”
He further said that his government launched a health insurance scheme, which has now been discontinued in many places. “We will also relaunch the health card scheme if we come into power,” he added.
Khan said that Sania Nishtar has prepared a programme related to ration distribution and targeted subsidy. “We will also provide interest-free loans to the youth”, he said, adding that they would relaunch a house building programme for the salaried class. He also said that a programme related to slums areas was in the pipeline.
He concluded his speech by saying that ‘transparent and immediate elections’ were the only way to political and economic crisis. “The PDM government has prepared a programme to keep me out of elections,” he added.
“Indian media is making fun of Pakistan”, he said, alleging that the foreign analysts were claiming that Pakistan was heading towards destruction.
He asked the government about holding the elections in October, saying that the incumbent rulers were afraid of losing in the elections. He urged the people of Pakistan not to ‘bow down’ to any fear.
Meanwhile, the local administration has placed containers on the ways leading to Minar-e-Pakistan, including GT Road, Cup Store and Du Maurya Bridge. The road heading from Data Darbar towards Minar-e-Pakistan has also been closed off from both sides.
Other routes including Minar-e-Pakistan from Lower Mall, Shahdara from Niazi Chowk, Badami Bagh and Purani Sabzi market were also closed by placing containers
The administration has taken the step in a bid to stop PTI workers supporters from other towns and cities in Punjab from reaching the rally venue.
Talking to journalists, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that the party workers were being arrested ahead of Minar-e-Pakistan Rally.
“Despite the Lahore High Court orders to hold political gathering, the government has placed containers in different parts of the city to create hurdles for PTI workers,” he noted.
Shah Mehmood further stated that the police was conducting raids and arresting PTI leaders, adding that almost 1800 PTI workers have been arrested so far. Qureshi maintained that holding the rally was our constitutional right.
Meanwhile, PTI Chairman Imran Khan – taking to Twitter – said that called on his supporters in Lahore to attend the jalsa after Taraweeh prayers which he believes will “break all records”.
The former prime minister announced that he will give his vision of “Haqeeqi Azadi” and how to pull the country out of the mess the “cabal of crooks have put our country in”.
“My heart tells me it will break all records. I am inviting everyone in Lahore to attend after Tarawih prayers. I will give my vision of Haqeeqi Azadi and how we will pull Pakistan out of the mess cabal of crooks have put our country in,” Imran said.
He also expressed concerns that the government may erect obstacles to prevent party supporters from reaching the venue, saying that it was the fundamental right of the people to participate in a political gathering.
“Everyone must assert their right as people of a free nation that won its independence and come to Minar-e-Pakistan,” he told his supporters.