KARACHI - Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday announced to visit Jinnah Ground - a stronghold of MQM - along with the party candidate for NA-246, saying he is ready even if welcomed with tomatoes or eggs.

He was addressing a press conference at the residence of Imran Ismail upon his arrival here. PTI leaders including Faisal Wada, Jahangir Tareen and others were also present on the occasion.

The press conference was affected for about 15 minutes as journalists boycotted it when PTI workers misbehaved with the newsmen at the residence of Imran Ismail. Witnesses said that the PTI organising committee allowed few of the journalists inside the house and locked the door. They said PTI chief Imran Khan has started the press conference when reporters and cameramen asked the management for coverage and try to enter the house when PTI workers started misbehaving with them and pushed them out.

Azizullah Afridi, general secretary of PTI, finally came to know about the journalists outside Ismail’s house and asked the organisers to allow them in. Following the situation, journalists got angry and boycotted the conference, on which PTI leadership tendered their apologies to resume the press conference.    

Later, the PTI chairman said Karachi had played a vital role in the political dynamics of the country but ethnic-based politics had destroyed the image of Karachi. By-poll holds importance as the city has remained under the fear from decades. PTI is making efforts to kill the atmosphere of fear. The people of Karachi are not free to vote for their choice. “I am here to eliminate the atmosphere of fear from the city. I will visit the constituency and Jinnah Ground to rid the people from terror,” he added.

Imran informed that his mother was Urdu-speaking, therefore, he is also partially Muhajir. “This is sign of change and we are going to visit Azizabad tomorrow. I am ready to face weather there were petals, eggs or tomatoes during the visit to NA-246,” said PTI chairman.

He said a group of oppressors was ruling the country and PTI has raised its voice against those powerful segments. He further said that unending extortion incidents and unstable law and order situation of Karachi had forced several business houses to leave the city. He said that PTI believes in tolerance and patience during the sit-in movement. The nation has witnessed that families used to attend our demos peacefully. I will visit the Jinnah Ground along with Imran Ismail, no matter if the public welcomes us with the rotten tomatoes. I will offer Fateha at the monument of martyrs at Jinnah Ground,” he added. The PTI chairman reiterated that the legal team of PTI was ready to register case against MQM chief Altaf Hussain in London if any PTI worker was harmed in Karachi.

To a question about the Yemen conflict, he said Yemen was witnessing civil war and Pakistan - being a friend of Saudi Arabia - should play a role of mediator instead of becoming the part of others’ war. About 70,000 Pakistan Army personnel were engaged in various parts of the country while the rulers should learn from the past mistakes and must keep the country away from others’ war, he said. Jumping in the Yemen War would harm the country. I was titled ‘Taliban Khan’ on opposing the decision of becoming the part of war against terrorism as it was not our war, said Imran. “PTI will continue to oppose the option of sending Pakistan Army troops to Yemen.”

To a question about PTI and JI electoral alliance, he said PTI would try to form alliance with Jamaat-e-Islami and desirous from the JI to support PTI during the by-polls. “I am hopeful the PTI will reach understanding with Jamaat-e-Islami for the upcoming by-poll.”

Talking about the judicial commission, he said the formation of judicial commission was a historic step as it was for the first time in the country that election rigging was being investigated. He said the judicial commission would soon show the results of investigation, proving his claims. PTI will accept the findings of the commission.

IMRAN VOWS TO RID KARACHI

OF TERROR

Earlier, talking to reporters outside the shrine of Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai on Wednesday, Imran stressed that the local bodies elections were essential to empower the people of Sindh.

He said the LB system was a problem across Pakistan placing the blame on the PPP and PML-N for not conducting LB polls in Sindh and Punjab. “As long as local bodies’ elections are not held, people at the bottom are not given powers and this system of centralised control is not broken, the poor will keep getting poorer and the system will not change,” he said.

Imran has reiterated that he was heading to Karachi to rid the city of ‘terror’, adding that he would run the election campaign throughout the day in NA-246, a National Assembly constituency generally considered the stronghold of MQM.

He said both the parties - PPP and PML-N - were conducting the LG polls on PTI pressure. The PTI chief vowed to hold ideal local government polls in KP, aiming to transfer power to masses at grass-root level.

Khan was welcomed by a crowd of supporters as he paid a visit to the shrine of the revered saint.  “We have come to Shah Latif’s shrine and this is where we begin our campaign in Sindh. We are trying to bring the change that the entire Pakistan is dreaming of,” he said.