Prime Minister Imran Khan sounded optimistic on Saturday when he said that the public would force the dissident PTI lawmakers — who are around a dozen — to come back into the party fold.
The prime minister, addressing the ground-breaking ceremony of the Rawalpindi Ring Road project, said: “Times have changed […] and on March 27 — when PTI will stage a rally in Islamabad — everyone will witness a historic gathering.”
PM Imran said it was the duty of the people to stop wrongdoings — a day after PTI workers stormed the Sindh House in the capital where the dissident lawmakers were residing.
After around two dozen PTI MNAs decided to move to the Sindh House to seek refuge from the government’s wrath, party workers resorted to violence in Islamabad on Friday as they barged into the lodge to throw the lawmakers out.
Following the incident, two PTI MNAs — Attaullah Niazi and Faheem Khan — and 12 members were arrested.
The Islamabad police had also registered a first information report (FIR) on behalf of the state against the two MNAs and the workers involved in the protest.
Meanwhile, PM Imran told the gathering that the opposition’s move to file the no-confidence motion against him was a “good thing” as people could now see that money was being used “openly” to change the loyalties of the party.
“…a market has been set up for buying the conscience of lawmakers. And the conscience is being brought illegally through people’s money,” the prime minister said.
He said that if the PPP is “buying” the loyalties of the PTI lawmakers, then it must be through the funds given to the Sindh government.
“It is illegal as taxpayers’ money cannot be used to lure in other lawmakers into the party [PPP]”.
PM Imran, shedding light on the incident of the Sindh House, said that “never in the history of Pakistan” has any provincial force been deployed “just to safeguard” the MNAs of other parties.
“…so why did they need Sindh police over there [Sindh House]? Because illegal activities were taking place there. People have now seen their reality,” the premier said.
PM Imran said the masses have finally gotten to know the reason behind the country’s underdevelopment “because people’s consciences are bought, and they enter politics just to earn illicit money.”
In the United Kingdom — whose democracy model Pakistan adopted — no politician can even consider shifting sides just for money, the prime minister added.
“They are so afraid of public pressure that no one [in the UK] can do the things that are happening at the Sindh House,” the PM said but noted that no one was allowed to resort to violence.
He said that the public should also voice their opinions whether the things happening at the Sindh House was right or wrong.
“And mark my words, as the date for the no-confidence motion approaches, all those who are in talks with the Opposition will return […] as people are angry at the lawmakers for venality,” the premier said.
Prior to the speech, the prime minister performed the ground-breaking of the Rawalpindi Ring Road project — which is a 38.3-kilometre-long road that will comprise six lanes and an interchange will also be constructed on it.
The project will help ease traffic flow in the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad. The project will also provide job opportunities and promote economic activities.
The PM stressed the need to ring-fence the major cities for the protection of cultivable land, adding that in this regard, he has ordered the relevant authorities to produce master plans of all megacities at the earliest.
The prime minister said due to the rapid increase in the population, Pakistani cities are under stress and they are expanding and green cover is fading. He said special attention is being paid to all new projects to protect green areas and make them environment friendly.
Mentioning the importance of Central Business District and Ravi city, the prime minister said these projects will not only increase economic activities but will also help control the unplanned sprawl of Punjab’s capital.
The prime minister said Lai Nullah is also of significant importance for the twin cities, therefore, soon its plan would be finalised for construction.