Imran Khan. File
Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said that although he had “nothing to gain from politics,” he had persevered in his political struggle for 23 years to fulfil his responsibility towards the Pakistani people.
He was addressing a ceremony held to celebrate the ruling Pakistan Tehrik-e-Insaf’s (PTI) 23rd Foundation Day — originally marked last week — at the Jinnah Convention Centre in Islamabad.
A large number of party supporters, ministers, special assistants to the prime minister and party leaders are attending the event.
The prime minister said that he joined the politics 23 years ago to serve the nation keeping in view the struggle of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). He said Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah has struggled 40 years and succeed in making the country.
“It’s been 23 years since PTI was founded and we need to understand what this struggle was about. Struggle is never a straight journey, there are highs and lows. People get disheartened and leave you, [and] some come back. I had nothing to gain from politics. I had everything a person can have — wealth, fame, respect. I could have spent my life just by commenting on cricket,” he told the audience.
But Imran said “a man of faith knows he has to answer to the God. The more you receive (from God), the more responsibility you have [towards society].”
He said that the PTI-led government will put the country on the development path taking bold measures according to model of Riyasat-e-Madina (State of Madina). He said Madina State was welfare and modern Islamic state and the government will put the country following this exemplary model and Muslims ruled on the world following the life of the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
He said Pakistan was progressing so quickly when he was growing up. “Our leaders were respected by the world. But then this respect began to fade because those in power, instead of thinking about the country, started caring about their own interest. When a man steals, he harms one man. When a leader steals, he harms the entire country,” the prime minister stressed.
A video compilation recapping the prime minister’s political career was shown at the start of today’s ceremony. It was followed by a performance by Punjabi folk legend Attaullah Esakhelvi, who has lent his vocals to a PTI anthem.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in his address at the event congratulated the prime minister and the party’s founding members and workers who he said “took Imran Khan’s message to every village and remote area.”
Taking a jibe at the PTI’s political rivals, he said: “Opposition parties ask ‘is this the naya Pakistan?’ I ask them that you ruined Pakistan for 40 years and you expect Imran Khan to fix it in eight months?”
Qureshi said the PTI voter is “very intelligent.” “He knows the situation you inherited when you came to power. He knows about the ruined economy you inherited,” he added while addressing the premier.
Earlier during the day, Imran and President Dr Arif Alvi in their messages for Labour Day reiterated the government’s commitment to protect the rights and dignity of workers.
Alvi, in his message, said the government will do its utmost to ameliorate and improve the socioeconomic conditions of workers and urged the provincial governments to accelerate their efforts to protect their rights.
The government has launched “Mazdoor ka Ehsas Programme” to address issues faced by workers. The objectives of the programme are to eliminate exploitation of labour and to ensure respect for their rights with regard to wages, health, and safety, the president said.
“This year we are celebrating May Day with the resolve to reaffirm our commitment to the dignity of labour and to pay tribute to the valiant and heroic struggle of the workers for their fundamental rights,” he said.
This day was not only a reminder of the struggle of workers but also an acknowledgement of their importance for national growth and progress, Alvi added.
Imran in his message said Labour Day affords us an opportunity to recognise the valuable contribution being made by the working class.
He said dividends of inclusive economic growth cannot be realised if the workers are deprived of their due rights and opportunities. He added that the workers are our partners in growth and development.
He stood briefly when his name was announced and then seated himself again before the others did in a breach of protocol.
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