Long march on Islamabad to begin on Friday: Imran

— Asserts it is not ‘politics but a struggle to get freedom from thieves’

— Decides to stay in Lahore till long march to monitor preparations

LAHORE: Former prime minister Imran Khan said his Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) party’s much-anticipated long march to Islamabad will begin from Lahore on Friday (October 28).

“I am kicking off the long march from Lahore. We will gather at Liberty Chowk neighbourhood at 11:00 am from where we will march towards Islamabad,” the chairman of PTI announced while addressing a press conference in Lahore on Tuesday.

Imran, who was ousted from power through a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly in April last, said the objective of his long march is to achieve “real freedom” in the country, saying that his protest rally is not a “politics but a struggle to get freedom from thieves”.

He added: “This Jihad will determine direction for the country.” “There is no time frame for this…. After passing through GT Road we will reach Islamabad.”

Imran said he will hold the biggest protest in the country’s history as a “sea of people” will come out on the streets.

The deposed prime minister also assured his supporters that police will not able to subject them to torture as they did during the party’s May 25 long march. “It’s not possible to even touch someone when hundreds of thousands of people are protesting.”

“We will neither violate any law nor enter the red zone. We are not coming for fighting anyone. Our protest will remain peaceful,” he assured.

In the same breath, he further added: “But if anyone tried to spread chaos in the protest I am already telling you that it will be the [government].”

Backdoor negotiations

Responding to a question about backchannel negotiations, Imran said he believed that political parties always solved their disputes through dialogue.

“But now I have ‘fully’ realised that they [coalition government] will not hold early elections. Now, they are planning other things like my disqualification because they know that they cannot win this match.”

The PTI chief also said he is being criticised for holding the long march as the country is facing difficulties “but the people are demanding us to come out against the imported government”.

He also reiterated that his allegations that his government was toppled through foreign conspiracy and horse-trading.

“We want that people of the country should have the right to make decisions about the country,” he said while appealing to the supporters to participate in the long march for the country’s future.

‘Arshad Sharif monument’

Former PM Imran also announced that the PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to build a monument of slain journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot dead in Kenya on Sunday.

“I will request the Punjab government to do the same to honour his services,” he added.

Imran decides to stay in Punjab till long march

Meanwhile, the PTI chairman decided to stay in Punjab till the beginning of long march towards Islamabad on Friday.

According to sources, the former premier would launch a public campaign in Punjab following the announcement of the long march.

The sources informed that Imran Khan will stay at his residence at Zaman Park and would monitor preparations for the long march from Lahore.

The PTI chairman would also address a joint parliamentary session of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) in Lahore tomorrow. He would start his public campaign in Sialkot from tomorrow afternoon, the sources informed.

 

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