Imran kick-starts accountability march

PESHAWAR – Truck-mounted PTI chief Imran Khan yesterday lunched Tehreek-e-Ehtesab (accountability movement) from Peshawar, assailing NAB for ‘protecting corrupt’ Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Addressing the participants of an Ehtesab rally, Imran criticised the NAB chairman for not holding the PM accountable for the disclosures in the Panama Papers about undeclared assets abroad.

The PTI chief said that corruption makes the rich richer and the poor poorer. The institutions of the country were destroyed due to corruption.

“National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is providing cover to Ishaq Dar and Nawaz Sharif,” he claimed, and asked the NAB chairman whether he was appointed to only catch petty thieves.

“Chairman NAB’s handsome salary is paid by the taxes of the poor. Has he been appointed to provide protection to the unjust?” he asked.

“This is (just) a trailer, the (real) match is about to start,” he said, adding that he and his supporters will remain on the streets until the Premier faced accountability.

Imran’s PTI has announced a couple of upcoming protests against the Nawaz government. He told his jubilant followers that next week he would go to Islamabad from Rawalpindi and take out a protest there. “After Islamabad, I will turn towards Lahore,” he said. He vowed that the accountability movement launched by his party will be taken to its logical conclusion.

The government and the opposition parties did not agree to the terms of reference for a proposed judicial commission to hold accountable Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and others named in the Panama Papers.

Imran said people always had the right to hold a leader accountable. He said a small group of rulers was plundering national wealth with impunity.

The only reason Nawaz Sharif wasn’t able to produce a reply to the accusations since the past four months because his wealth was ill-gotten, he averred. He alleged that the prime minister considers himself above the law.

He also called upon parliamentarians to ask PM Sharif about the source of his wealth. He went on to say that Nawaz Sharif could indulge in corruption but he was not able to bring about change in the governance system.

He asked Nawaz Sharif not to teach lesson of democracy to others as in every democracy leaders are responsible to their people. Despite passing of four months, the ruling party did not agree on TORs for Panama probe, he added.

“No nation has progressed with corrupt leadership, always remember this. The top leader of the house has made alliance with all the corrupt. When the leader of the nation is corrupt he corrupts the whole society including all the institutions,” the PTI chief told rally participants.

He stressed that the corrupt leaders are soaking up the wealth of helpless Pakistanis and draining it abroad. He reminded the nation of their responsibility to raise their voices when their wealth is stolen and fight for their rights.

The Ehtesab rally kicked off from Peshawar’s Pir Zakori Sharif flyover, where large number of party supporters joined the main procession to welcome their leader. Waving party flags the workers danced to the tune of party anthems and national songs.

The rally was joined by the party workers from Kohat, Bannu, Nowshera, Mardan and Sawabi. Activists under leadership of UC Nazims, MPAs, and District Nazim overwhelmingly participated in the rally. The enthusiastic party workers were chanting slogans like ‘Go Nawaz Go; ‘Ayi Ayi PTI, Chai Chai PTI’. The convoy starting its journey around 12pm caused heavy traffic jam on the Ring Road.

Addressing the rally at Pabbi area of Nowshera, Imran Khan seemed extremely angry at Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for filing a reference to National Assembly speaker against him seeking his disqualification as MNA.

He said he would also file references against the corrupt elements that have been plundering national wealth for long and the day was not far when all of them would face accountability.

“Nawaz Sharif is afraid of accountability because he is guilty of thieving money and stashing it abroad. I am glad that they are trying to open cases against me; I am ready to present myself for accountability,” he said.