Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan has thanked and paid tribute to the five judges of the Supreme Court bench, which disqualified Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister, and members of the Panamagate joint investigation team (JIT).
Addressing participants of the PTI’s Thanksgiving Rally here Sunday, Imran Khan thanked them to turn up in huge numbers on 48-hour notice. He said that he saw a spirited nation before him, which is aware of its issues.
Hailing the women participants, he said they were equally involved in changing the landscape of the country and were well aware of their rights. “My mother taught me to stand for justice, truth and what is right,” Khan said, adding that he wanted youngsters to follow the same.
“I thank and pay tribute to those five judges and members of the Panamagate JIT on behalf of the nation,” Khan said.
He said that judges asked us to come to the Supreme Court instead of protesting in streets, but it disappointed workers when I decided to go to the court. “People’s Party and Tahirul Qadri termed our decision a mistake.”
Addressing the participants, Sheikh Rasheed said he had already told that Nawaz Sharif was not truthful and honest. “I always urged the people to have patience and keep their passion alive,” he said, adding that Imran Khan is going to be the leader in future, who is “farsighted”.
“This country has great institutions, military and judges. As long as these institutions and a leader like Imran are present, no one can harm the country,” he said.
The AML chief claimed that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) nominated Shahid Khaqan Abbasi as its candidate for interim prime minister at Qatar’s behest. “Saifur Rehman came in a Qatari vehicle and told them to make Khaqan interim PM.”
“Where is the 15-year gas agreement with Qatar,” Rasheed inquired, adding that whenever Sharif brothers were sent to prison, he would remind them that they were thieves.
Drawing attention of the PTI chief at the rally, he said, “People have their hopes with you; do not disappoint them”.
Meanwhile, disorder was witnessed at the rally as PTI workers attempted to reach the stage. They also mounted on containers reserved for newsmen for coverage of the rally.
An armed man was also taken into custody from near the stage, at which the PTI leadership is seated. A handgun was reportedly recovered from the suspect, who was moved to an undisclosed location.
Earlier in the day, caravans of PTI supporters reached the Parade Ground from across the region.
PTI leaders from Lahore, Peshawar and other cities led their respective groups to the venue.
PTI calls off Islamabad ‘lockdown’, to hold celebratory rally
To ensure security at the site of the gathering, 1,600 security personnel have been deployed as per the security plan.
Moreover, there are three ways set up for participants to enter Parade Ground.
Walkthrough gates have been installed at the entry points so that no one enters the venue without being checked for security.
A separate entry point has been made for women, where female security personnel will be present for frisking. A separate enclosure has also been erected for women participants of the event.
Islamabad Deputy Commissioner Capt (retd) Mushtaq Ahmed told Geo News earlier traffic and security arrangements have been completed for the rally.
Three stages have been set up, with one for the central leadership where Imran Khan will be addressing the crowd. Organisers also said that a film on the party chief will be displayed at the event, for which large screens have been put up.
The organisers claimed to have made seating arrangements for 30,000 people whereas the local administration claimed only 9,000 seats have been placed at the venue.
The PTI chief, in a tweet on Saturday, claimed ‘record’ crowds will come to today’s gathering to celebrate Nawaz Sharif’s ouster.