War of words between PML-N, PTI over Raiwind rally

LAHORE: While the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz has claimed that the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf has been left alone for its planned Raiwind rally, the latter has termed it propaganda against its anti-corruption movement.

Information Minister Pervaiz Rashid has said that PTI chief Imran Khan has been isolated politically as his allies are not ready to join his Raiwind rally.

“The government did not stop Imran Khan from holding a protest [outside the prime minister’s residence] in Raiwind, but none of his allies are willing to join his rally,” he said, adding that even his ‘political cousin’ had refused to participate in it.

Talking to reporters here on Monday, Mr Rashid said the Pakistan Peoples Party, Jamaat-i-Islami and other parties had refused to take part in PTI’s Raiwind rally, showing that Imran Khan was left all alone.

He taunted the PTI chief for ‘skipping’ Haj for politics. “Imran Khan made two promises … one going for Raiwind and other for Haj. He did not go for Haj as he might have made a deal with the ‘devil’ and now he has withdrawn his Raiwind plan [to lay siege to the premier’s house],” the minister said.

He did not spare Awami Muslim League head Sheikh Rashid and said: “The politician from Rawalpindi used to give different dates of the PML-N government’s departure but got disappointed.”

Mr Rashid parried a question about the PML-N workers’ storming of the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly. “All such allegations are baseless,” he said.

He said that during the PML-N government, Haj package had been reduced and there were no complaints from pilgrims.

PTI reaction

PTI’s Punjab central region chief Abdul Aleem Khan has rejected what he called the negative propaganda against the party’s anti-corruption movement and asserted that the demonstration will remain peaceful.

He said the PTI would hold a rally at Adda Plot on Raiwind Road and no party worker would be allowed to go towards the prime minister’s residence — some five kilometres away from the protest venue.

Aleem Khan was talking to journalists during a visit to Adda Plot on Monday to review protest arrangements. He was accompanied by Waleed Iqbal, Zaheer Abbas Khokhar, Mian Aslam Iqbal and other PTI leaders.

Stating that the Raiwind march’s new date would be announced by Imran Khan, he asserted: “I guarantee that the protest will remain peaceful.”

He said the PML-N leaders and workers had stormed the Supreme Court in the past and now they attacked the KP Assembly. He said the PTI workers had the ability to respond to the PML-N workers in the same coin.

He said the Raiwind rally would pave the way for “biggest change at the national level”.

In reply to a question, the PTI leader called Pervaiz Rashid “chief of satanic forces” and said added the information minister should perform Haj with Imran Khan next year. He said government ministers were busy in spreading rumours and blaming Imran Khan instead of serving the masses.

Asserting that there will be no security issue in the Raiwind march, he said Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had been seeking cancellation of PTI’s Shahdra to Chairing Cross rally.

Aleem Khan said the PTI had organised several protest rallies as well as mass public gatherings at Minar-i-Pakistan, adding that there was no harm in holding a protest demonstration about five kilometres away from PM Sharif’s residence.

He warned the Punjab government, administration and police against creating problems in the way of the protest march.

Published in Dawn September 13th, 2016

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