Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday reiterated his claims of a brewing “revolution” in the country, questioning whether it will achieve its goals through the ballot or through bloodshed.
“The sea of people along our march on the GT Road,” he said, while sharing on Twitter a video of his party’s long march on Islamabad. “For 6 months, I have been witnessing a revolution taking over the country. Only question is will it be a soft one through the ballot box or a destructive one through bloodshed?” he added.
The statement triggered a predictable backlash from the incumbent government, with Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb saying it validated an earlier press conference of former PTI leader Faisal Vawda in which he had alleged that the PTI’s long march would be “bloody” and result in the loss of various innocent lives. She also referred to a leaked audio recording of PTI leader Ali Amin Gandapur in which he could be heard discussing the arrangement of arms and ammunitions “on the border between Islamabad and Rawalpindi” with an unidentified individual.
Maintaining that the nation had not seen any “revolution” in the six months, Aurangzeb said it had rather seen the “thievery” of Khan and his wife, as well as their “sale” of the national interest and social media campaign against martyrs.
“Lying person, the question is that if [your] purpose was elections, then why didn’t you announce polls in March, when you still had the authority and power to do so? [Rather] you offered an extension [to Army chief Gen. Bajwa] in a bid to save your seat,” she said, adding that “container Khan” would not be able to secure either elections or power through “abuse and guns.”
Long march resumes
The long march resumed on Monday after being suspended on Sunday night following the death of journalist Sadaf Naeem. The Channel 5 anchor had been covering the PTI’s demonstration when she fell off a PTI container and was crushed underneath it.
In a posting on Twitter, PTI Senior Vice-President Chaudhry Fawad Hussain said the long march would resume its journey from Kamoke, with an aim at reaching Gujranwala today. He said the PTI’s convoy from Karachi would also depart from Islamabad from today, adding it would travel via Hyderabad and Sukkur. The party’s convoy from Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, he said, would leave for the federal capital on Wednesday.
The PTI had originally been scheduled to have reached Gujrat by Sunday night. At its current pace, it is unlikely to accomplish this before Tuesday night at the earliest. It is unclear if the PTI still aims to reach Islamabad by Nov. 4, and whether accomplishing this would require it to cut short various planned public interactions in districts between Lahore and Islamabad.