PTI does ‘constructive criticism’ of establishment: Imran addresses at Liberty Chowk

PTI kicks off Azadi March after party chief receives roaring welcome

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan while standing atop a container while addressing the DG ISI said that “we do constructive criticism, a criticism for your own good”.

Speaking to cheering crowds at Liberty Chowk on Friday afternoon, Imran Khan said that unlike Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif, he was “not a runaway that would either sit quietly here or criticise the military in London”.

“I am not going to leave this country. I will live and die in this country,” added the PTI chief.

“I want to see a Pakistan that is free and to have a free country you need a powerful military,” he added, “if your military is weakened then the country loses its freedom”.

“So DG ISI sir when we criticize you we do constructive criticism, we do it for your own good,” said Imran as he noted that “we do not wish to hurt our country”.

“And I repeat myself,” he continued, “I could say a lot more, I could even answer you back. But, I do not want that the institutions of the country are weakened”.

The PTI chief then continued to say that party leader Azam Swati who was recently taken into custody by the Federal Investigation Authority’s (FIA) cybercrime unit on October 13 for allegedly making ‘controversial claims’ against state institutions, including the army chief.  had revealed two names of army officers who had allegedly tortured him, “one is Faheem and the other is Faisal”.

“First they illegally picked up Azam [Swati], beat him up in front of his grandchildren, then he was handed over to the facilitators” of the military officers, Imran claimed. “He was stripped naked, he was tortured,” added Imran, “before this, Shehbaz Gill was picked up in the same manner”.

“I ask you this one question today,” Imran said referring to the COAS, “when the ISI commander in Karachi did some injustice and Bilawal Bhutto gave a statement against it, you removed him.” “Remove them too” demanded Imran, “remove them both”.

“They both are defaming you General Bajwa. When they picked up Azam Swati, what was written in newspapers all over the world? That Pakistan’s 75 year-old senator was picked up, suffered custodial torture, all because he tweeted against the military”.

“Pakistan was shamed across the globe,” added the PTI chief, “our democracy was turned into a joke and the military was maligned.”

The PTI chief also said that the march will remain confined to the designated areas that “they have allowed us in Islamabad”.

“We will not break any laws,” he said, “nobody will go to the red zone. For the past 26 years we have always followed the law and the Constitution. Our protests are always peaceful”.

PTI supporters gather at Liberty Chowk

The PTI chief arrived at Liberty Chowk on Friday afternoon, welcomed by a sea of party supporters.

The party’s activists and supporters were converging in droves at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk, as the party geared up to launch its ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’ from there.

The march, being held to pressure the government into announcing a date for fresh elections, will reach Islamabad by next Friday and has begun moving forwards.

Party chief Imran Khan’s container reached Liberty Chowk shortly before he arrived at the site of the march to officially kick it off.

Former interior minister Sheikh Rashid said he would be joining the march today as well, and expressed optimism that “the nation will come out” and that “an election date would be acquired”.
Echoing Rashid’s optimism, senior party leader Shireen Mazari emphatically stated that even the highest authorities will be compelled to announce an election date if the nation marched to Islamabad.
March plan

According to the party’s plans, the march will commence from Lahore’s Liberty Chowk on Friday (today) and will reach Rawat by November 3, where the leadership will decide on the next course of action. The first priority of the party would be to hold a public rally, whereas the second priority would be to turn the protest into a sit-in.

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