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Imran Khan rallies against govt

Cricketer and politician Imran Khan and his party, the Tehreek-e-Insaf, was given a new lease of life on Sunday when thousands turned up at the party’s jalsa in Lahore’s Minar-e-Pakistan ground.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2011 00:31 IST
Imtiaz Ahmad

Imran Khan and his party, the Tehreek-e-Insaf, was given a new lease of life on Sunday when thousands turned up at the party's jalsa in Lahore's Minar-e-Pakistan ground. Most of those attending were young men and women, almost all students or professionals, with many saying that they were fed up with Pakistan's present set of politicians and wanted a change. "We want a change and we dont want the army back in power," commented Sher Ali Khan, a 22 year old student who came to the rally.

For Imran Khan, who has been in politics since the mid-90's, Sunday's rally was his best political moment ever. Confident of his rising support, by Monday Imran Khan promised a revolution in Pakistan and threatened to start a civil disobidience campaign.

His one point agenda is corruption. He told his supporters that if politicians dont not pay taxes and refuse to disclose their true assets, he would lead a movement against them.

The PTI rally in Lahore was attended mostly by young men and women and Imran Khan's speech was frequently interupted by known singers, including Shehzad Roy and the "Laal" band, who played different tunes to keep spirits high. "Our time has come," said PTO office bearer and Imran Khan supporter, Talat Naqvi.

Imran Khan told his supporters that the spirit of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had been lost and the ruling party was at its last legs with President Zardari in power. Khan said that the ruling Peoples Party was an American stooge that promoted imperialism.

As part of his foreign policy initiative, Imran Khan said that he would move for better ties with China. "With America, we need to have a policy of equality," he told the audience. He said that the Pakistan army "must not do the bidding of the Americans" and should be independent.

Khan did not talk specifically about relations with India but said that Pakistan cut a sorry figure in the international community. He said that Pakistan has to play a more positive role in the region.

As PTI supporters congratulate each other, the country's two major political parties - the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party and the opposition Pakistan Muslim League -N has promised that they too will join the fight against corruption in the country.