PTI Chairman Imran Khan has expressed gratitude towards his supporters for joining the party’s “Azadi March” in Rawalpindi in huge numbers.
The former prime minister attended the public gathering for the first time since the attempt on his life on November 3 in Wazirabad, where Khan’s convoy stopped during PTI’s long march. Khan survived an assassination bid in a shooting incident that left him injured in both his legs. Since then, he was addressing the march participants via video link.
The much-touted anti-government march on the federal capital kicked off on October 28 in an attempt to force the coalition government into early elections. However, the march was abruptly stopped on November 3 after Khan was wounded. It was later resumed from the same point but PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi led it, as Khan announced that he would lead join the march from Rawalpindi.
In a tweet posted a day after his appearance at the march, the PTI chief said: “I want to thank all the people who came in such huge numbers from across Pakistan to our Rawalpindi Azadi March yesterday.”
“Our Tehreek will continue until we establish rule of law and real freedom,” he added.
A day earlier, the ex-premier, announced that his party has decided they will not be part of “this system” and will resign from all assemblies.
Khan’s comments came while addressing the crowd at Rehmanabad during the party’s long march. He said that he would announce the exact date soon.
Khan’s decision to resign from the assemblies and halt the long march recieved reaction from the incumbent government leaders.
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said Khan “cannot dissolve both [Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab] assemblies”.
“Khan will not be able to decide about dissolving the assemblies,” he said, adding that the PTI cannot do so if no-confidence motion is moved.
Sanaullah also said that Khan’s decision to dissolve assemblies is his “announcement of defeat”.
“Had [Imran Khan] marched toward Islamabad only 500,000 to one million people would have showed up. Khan decided against marching toward Islamabad as people did not arrive at the jalsa,” the minister said, stressing that the PTI chief announced to quit assemblies to avoid embarrassment.
Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari called PTI’s march a “facesaving flop show”.
“Unable to pull revolution crowds, failed at undermining appointments of new chiefs, frustrated, resorts to resignation drama. Imran demand from pindi is not azadi but to be reselected. How long will KP&Punjab be used as political props?” he wrote.