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Khan tells Pakistani Scots: I shall root out corruption

SCOTLAND'S Pakistani community turned out in force to listen to presidential hopeful Imran Khan promise change and an end to corruption in Pakistan.

More than 1500 people packed into the Clyde Suite at the Marriot Hotel in Glasgow to welcome the former cricketer turned politician.

The leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party addressed the crowd in his native language, promising that, if elected next year, he will introduce fundamental reforms to improve the country.

He promised to stamp out corruption by forcing politicians to declare their assets, eliminating conflict of interest by stopping politicians from owning businesses and bringing forth tax reform.

For the first time, Pakistanis living overseas will be able to vote in the country's elections – and many of those in yesterday's audience were dressed in PTI hats, T-shirts and merchandise.

Glasgow SNP MSP Humza Yousaf and Glasgow Central MP Anas Sarwar, for Labour, both gave speeches before Mr Khan stood to speak.

Mr Khan, whose slogan read "PTI will change Pakistan, together we can", said the long-awaited change needed in Pakistan had come.

He announced policy changes that would be implemented instantly to bring about good governance, eradicate corruption, reform education and revitalise young people.

Other points included medium and long-term policy changes to tackle energy deficiency and optimise natural resources.

Mr Yousaf said: "The Pakistani community here in Scotland has contributed so much. We contribute through the economy, our culture and even through our cuisine.

"As proud as we are of being Scottish, we have never forgotten our roots, never forgotten our heritage and we have never forgotten our history, our home is Pakistan. This great nation is possibly going through what is its darkest hour."

He cited the problems the country has endured as a result of the war on terror, as well as problems of infrastructure and the corruption of its officials.

He said: "There exists a ray of hope hidden amongst the darkness, and that ray of hope is Pakistan led by Imran Khan.

"I believe Pakistan is on the verge of something momentous, it is on the cusp of something quite historic. There is a wave of change that carries the hopes and dreams of ordinary Pakistanis."

Mr Sarwar added: "What unites every single person in this room is our love for the great country of Pakistan."

Imran Adrees, PTI's Scotland president, said it was important for Mr Khan to speak in Scotland. He added: "We want him to give the message here – he is not just popular in our community, he is popular with Scottish people as well.

"Scottish people know he is an honest person and he can make a change so I want him to come and tell the community he will make change in Pakistan, he will finish the corruption in Pakistan, he will finish terrorism in Pakistan.

"We want to live the same way that we are living in this country, peacefully. We want Pakistan to become more like Scotland. The reaction here is excellent.

"So many people are disappointed because they wanted to come but we just don't have capacity. It is an excellent welcome for Imran Khan."

Aci Faraz Qureshi, 29, from Newlands in Glasgow, who was in the audience, said: "Imran Khan is saying Pakistan needs change and we need change as well in our politicians, that is why we are here to support him. It is important that he has come to Scotland because lots of our community is here as well and they have come here to support him."

Arif Mehmood, 27, from Bridgeton in Glasgow, a student at the University of the West of Scotland, was also at the rally.

He said: "People say some bad things about Pakistan nowadays, regarding terrorism and bomb attacks, but that is just because of the corrupt politicians.

"Once they are eradicated from the country then we will come to know what Pakistan has and what is the potential of the Pakistani people.

"It is tremendous that Imran Khan is in Scotland. I am in shock. I can't believe I have seen him."

Glasgow businessmen Mohammed Ranzan and Shoket Mobarik invited Mr Khan to Glasgow and were instrumental in organising the conference.

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