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Pakistan’s Imran Khan lays out economic recovery plan in huge Lahore rally

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has held a massive rally in eastern Lahore city, where he presented the roadmap for economic recovery while likening curbs and cases against him and his supporters to the situation in occupied Palestine and disputed Kashmir.

Addressing a rally late on Saturday from behind a bulletproof glass, the leader of the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf [or PTI] said Pakistan doesn’t collect enough taxes and a “major surgery” was needed in order to put the country’s economy on track, the Express Tribune reported.

“Overseas Pakistanis will bring their dollars to the country provided they are given incentives,” Khan said, adding that only 2.5 million Pakistanis out of 220 million pay taxes while stressing on the need to increase taxes in order to achieve progress.

He proposed giving loans to young people for starting businesses and bringing back the mortgage scheme that he said was introduced for the first time in Pakistani history by the PTI government.

Khan said that “real freedom” will only come if the rule of law prevails in the country.

“One thing is clear, whoever is in power, they will get a message today that people’s passion cannot be curbed via hurdles and containers,” he stated. 

The cricketer-turned-politician also took a dig at the government led by Pakistan Muslim League–Nawaz [PML-N], accusing it of “begging around the world” for funds with no reprieve.

Pakistan police arrest dozens more supporters of former PM Imran Khan

Khan invokes Kashmir, Palestine

During the rally, he said that for the first time he witnessed what the people in disputed Kashmir and occupied Palestine experience.

“Police attacked my house as they wanted to arrest me in false cases. The people supported me during the clash with the police as they knew I was right. They have booked me in 40 terrorism cases…will the nation accept that Imran Khan is a terrorist…”

Khan says the government and the powerful military are trying to stop him from contesting the next election, scheduled for November. If convicted in a case, Khan could face disqualification from the polls.

Both the government and military deny this.

Khan’s supporters have clashed with police several times over recent days as authorities try to force him to appear in court in connection with various cases brought against him.

The government has alleged that Khan’s supporters had militants among them and ministers have called for proscribing Khan’s PTI party.

Khan was ousted through a no-confidence vote in Parliament last April. Since then, the 70-year-old politician has become embroiled in more than 100 legal cases against him, including graft while in office. 

Since then he has been demanding a snap election and holding protest rallies across the country to press his case.

Khan’s successor Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has said that a general election will be held as scheduled later this year.

Khan has repeatedly alleged that his ouster was a conspiracy engineered by his successor, Sharif, and the United States. Both have denied the charge.

But the ousted premier in recent weeks has adopted a conciliatory approach toward Washington.

Pakistani police file terrorism charges against former PM Khan

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