Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday announced a ‘peaceful’ long march towards Islamabad from Lahore on October 28 (Friday). Addressing a press conference here, he said that the long march would start from Liberty Chowk at 11am and that he would lead it himself. “We would gather at Liberty Chowk and then start a march towards Islamabad”, he added. He said people from all over Pakistan would join the march that would pass through the GT Road. He however made it clear that there was no timeframe for the march. “We would be peaceful … we are not coming to fight anyone, we will not break any law … we will not enter the Red Zone,” Imran Khan said. “I am predicting this will be the biggest sea of people in the history of the country,” he claimed. The former prime minister termed PTI’s long march “far above” politics and said that the move was tantamount to “jihad” as it was now a decisive moment for the people of Pakistan to choose their sides. “This march will decide whether the people want to do slavery of these “thieves” or not. There is our march for Haqeeqi Azaadi and it has no timeframe. We will reach Islamabad from the GT Road and the nation will come from across Pakistan to Islamabad,” he maintained. Elaborating on the demands of the march, the former premier said that he only wanted one thing: “The decision of who will head the country belongs to the public.” “We want that the people make the decision. Today, I am appealing to the entire nation that you will have to decide […] do we want to go on this way of becoming a free country or serve these thieves.” Shedding light on the way the government issued warnings to the PTI in relation to the long march, Khan said that when he was the premier, JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, PML-N’s Maryam Nawaz, and PPP’s Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari held two long marches. “At that time, they disregarded the economic situation of the country,” he said. Khan, during the presser, added that he was supposed to start the long march much earlier but the government created hindrances for the party. “On May 25, our peaceful marchers were attacked and we had to call it off just for the sake of the country. Horse trading took place in Sindh House and our government was forcefully toppled. And when I won the July by-elections, I was bombarded with court cases,” the PTI chief lamented. He added that so far, the coalition government had registered 24 first information reports (FIRs) against Khan. In response to a question, Imran said that political parties always solved problems through talks and that “doors are always open for backdoor channels”. However, at the same time, the PTI chief contended that the government was against fresh elections because they feared that “despite their pet election commissioner” they won’t be able to win. “This is why they have now gone to the other side – disqualification.” He said that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) had disqualified him in a “totally illegal and unconstitutional way” because “this match is not capable enough to be played now”. “This is why they don’t want elections and now we have decided to go towards the long march,” Imran added. Khan then spoke about the slain journalist Arshad Sharif, who was shot to death on the evening of October 23 by the Kenyan police in Nairobi, and said that the deceased was a true patriot. “The entire journalist community knows that Arshad Sharif had stood up for the country,” Khan said, adding that people were also aware that two members of Sharif’s family had been martyred. “I had repeatedly warned Arshad to leave the country [as he was not safe there] but he did not listen.” Imran also announced that the PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government has decided to build a monument of Arshad Sharif. “I will request the Punjab government to do the same to honour his services,” he added. Referring to his political opponents, the PTI chief further said that “dacoits” saved themselves after assuming power and amended selected laws, especially the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance. “One can see clear differences between today’s Pakistan and the one that we left,” he said, urging people to compare the prices of electricity, oil and gas during the PTI’s tenure and under the current government’s rule.