ISLAMABAD: Joining the chorus demanding the ‘convicted’ prime minister to resign, Imran Khan threatened on Sunday that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf would unleash a ‘tsunami march’, if the government did not honour the apex court judgment.
The apex court last month convicted Premier Yousaf Raza Gilani in a contempt case for his refusal to write a letter to the Swiss authorities to reopen graft cases against President Asif Ali Zardari.
Addressing nearly 5,000 supporters at a rally in Islamabad, Imran announced that his party would stage a decisive rally at Rawalpindi’s Liaqat Bagh on May 27, if the premier did not resign voluntarily.
“Let’s stand by the judiciary and through street power force the government to implement the court’s order in the contempt of court case,” he told his supporters.
The PTI chief accused Gilani of protecting “the money of a robber” instead of saving the assets of people. “Gilani should save the country rather than the president,” Imran said, adding that the corrupt ruling clique would never accept an independent chief justice.
Imran also censured the leadership of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), urging Nawaz Sharif to act like a ‘real lion’ rather than a fake one and ask his party to resign from the assemblies.
Condemning the parliamentary resolution in favour of the prime minister, Imran said it was a shame that a lawmaking body was undermining the judiciary. “The resolution was passed in favour of Gilani who is protecting the corrupt. The government knows if the Swiss cases are reopened, their corruption will be exposed,” he said.
The PTI chairman also highlighted how the United States had already ‘ridiculed’ Pakistani parliament by conducting drone strikes, adding that such attacks undermined parliament.
Addressing the crowd, PTI President Javed Hashmi said that the Supreme Court was the face of Pakistan. “I told you (Imran) that I am a rebel. Today, the whole Pakistan has become a rebel,” he added.
PTI Vice President Shah Mehmood Qureshi said the government was letting down the judiciary in an effort to undermine its independence. “It’s time to save Pakistan, not the chair of the prime minister,” he said.
The PTI chairman also held a meeting on Sunday to chalk out a strategy to compel the government to implement the Supreme Court’s orders, PTI leaders told The Express Tribune. Imran discussed preparations for an upcoming march and how to upstage the PML–N which has already begun a movement against Gilani.
To pave the way for a big show on Sunday, PTI workers held a solidarity walk on Saturday – Mashal Tsunami – which ended at the official residence of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
On Sunday, thousands chanted slogans against the president while marching towards D-Chowk in front of the Parliament House. However, the turnout was lower than previous gatherings and claims by party leaders to gather 10,000 to 15,000 people on Sunday proved untrue.
PTI Senior Leaders Khurshid Kasuri and Dr Arif Alvi conceded that even though the turnout was low, the rally was only a rehearsal for the May 27 Liaquat Bagh rally.
Around 1, 000 security personnel were deployed and a traffic plan was chalked out in which alternate routes were opened for people attending the rally.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 7th, 2012.