Tue, May 01, 2018 - Page 6 News List

Pakistan lawmaker’s rally draws thousands

AP, LAHORE, Pakistan

A supporter of Imran Khan, chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, chants with others on Sunday during a rally in Lahore, Pakistan.

Photo: Reuters

Tens of thousands of supporters of a popular opposition lawmaker who hopes to become Pakistan’s prime minister on Sunday gathered in Lahore as his political party launched its campaign for July elections.

Chanting slogans for change and waving flags, supporters of Imran Khan and his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party filled a park and its surroundings in the power base of rival and former Pakistani premier Nawaz Sharif, who was disqualified in July last year by the Supreme Court for concealing his assets abroad.

Khan’s party managed the impressive show as its supporters traveled to the city from across the nation.

A long-time politician and former cricket player, Khan aspires to become premier. His opposition party has emerged as one of the leading parties in recent years promising change.

Saima Siddiq, who attended the rally with her husband and children, said the existing system is “rotten” and that she hopes Khan will make the nation prosperous.

The rally in Iqbal Park took place around a grand minaret built where a resolution was adopted in 1940 demanding independence from British rule.

“I pledge here to work till my last breath and last drop of my blood to make this nation and this country great and prosperous,” he told the massive, cheering crowd.

Presenting an 11-point agenda, Khan sought support in bringing about “peaceful political change” and to defeat “corrupt” politicians who he said have done nothing for the betterment of the common person.

Other political parties also held rallies on Sunday.

Former Pakistani president Asif Zardari’s Pakistan People Party held a rally in Karachi. Zardari’s young son and party leader Bilawal Zardari criticized both Khan and Sharif.

The newly revived alliance of seven religious parties, Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal, held a modest show in the northwestern city of Mardan.

Alliance chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman vowed not let anybody impose a Western agenda on the nation.

Supporters of Aftab Sherpao, former Pakistani minister of the interior and lawmaker, gathered in the northwestern city of Swabi to start their electioneering in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province.

Also on Sunday, the Pashtun Protection Movement, a group that raises a voice for missing people and criticizes the all-powerful army for its treatment of Pashtuns, held a rally in Swat Valley.

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