Imran fires warning shot to govt over polls

Says 'sea of people' will sweep everyone away if a date for fresh polls not announced

Ahtasham Bashir May 13, 2022
PTI chairman Imran Khan is addressing a rally in Mardan on Friday. SCREENGRAB


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has fired a warning shot across the coalition government’s bows by threatening to “sweep everyone away through a sea of people” if a date for fresh elections was not announced.

The sharpened tone comes as the former ruling party continues to up its ante against the new dispensation – an assemblage of main political parties that muscled out Khan from power through a vote of no confidence last month – seeking to squeeze out snap polls from it through ‘Azadi March’.

"I am giving you warning that if you don't give us election date, an ocean of people coming to Islamabad will blow you away," he said while addressing a massive public gathering in Mardan on Friday.

Imran stressed his march on Islamabad was for "revolution" and not for politics.

Lashing out at PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, Imran said the former was the "biggest coward” he has seen in his entire life, asserting that the man sitting in London could not be allowed to pull the strings. "Only people of this country have that right... they will decide who will lead them.”

Imran had earlier said he will announce the date for his long march to Islamabad after May 20.

Doubling down on his claims that his ouster was part of a “regime change conspiracy” orchestrated through “local abettors”, the PTI chief alleged that the coalition government would soon approach the US for help and pointed to Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto’s expected meeting in America as part of the same.

"It is the same America that had tapped your phone call with your mother when she was sharing the details of your family assets abroad," Imran said, referring to Bilawal.

Imran also berated JUI-F Amir Maulana Fazlur Rehman for “snatching” the ministry which will fetch him the most money. "I am not calling Fazlur Rehman a ‘maulana’ as I respect clerics a lot ... I am only calling him diesel now," he added.

"These US slaves will never let this nation become a great nation."

He called upon the people to break the "shackles of fear" and join him in Islamabad and added that “propaganda campaigns” against him have failed to put a dent in his popularity. “Allah Almighty has given me honour, a proof of which is the willingness of the people to gather for this rally.”

'Had warned neutrals’

Taking the federal government to task over economic woes, the PTI chief saw a realisation of his anticipations in the flagging rupee against the US dollar, saying he had warned the "neutrals" about the consequences of his ouster from power. He added he had told them that the economy would go into a 'tailspin' if the "conspiracy" against his government was allowed to take place.

He said he had approached those who could've stopped the alleged conspiracy from succeeding “but they did nothing”. "I told them if this succeeds, the economy will go into a tailspin... I sent Shaukat to those who call themselves neutral but unfortunately they did not stop it."

The term “neutral” – a thinly-veiled reference to ‘establishment’ - has been in the lexicon of PTI ever since the military declared its hands-off approach in its handling of the political crisis last month when the former premier faced burgeoning perils from major political parties.

The remarks by the former prime minister, sniffing the vindication of his stance about the “regime change conspiracy”, came on the heels of the historic depreciation of the Pakistani rupee against the US dollar and the bloodbath at the stock market over the past few days.

The former PM said that the rupee is now at almost Rs200 and the economic downfall can be witnessed by everyone.

"I know who is part of this conspiracy.... each face is saved in my memory. I want Chief Justice of Supreme Court to form a commission and ask them to find out about the traitors," he added.

Imran had made similar claims separately in a tweet earlier in the day, saying he and former finance minister Shaukat Tarin had warned the "neutrals" that the "fragile economic recovery would go into a tailspin" if the conspiracy against the PTI government succeeded.

US ties

Imran said that Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will go to the US only to beg in front of the Americans.

"He will not be able to take any stand against them as they know where his money is... he will only beg for money but I know Americans the best... they will say there is no free lunch... they will put a price on it and what will be the price? It will be your freedom," he added.

The PTI chief said that the US will ask Pakistan to give statements against Russia and in favour of Ukraine.

"They asked me but I said it is not our war. When slaves are in power, they will do whatever their masters say," he added.

'No polls under incumbent CEC'

Imran said that transparent elections cannot take place under the current chief election commissioner. "The entire nation knows who the lotas are but only the chief election commissioner cannot see them," he added.

Talking about the achievements of the PTI government, he said that they managed to save people from both coronavirus and poverty. "Only 31,000 people died in Pakistan whereas five million died in India," he maintained.

"When we assumed power, the country was on the verge of bankruptcy because of the loans taken by previous governments," he said and added that his government collected 60% more tax and the country witnessed record exports.

"When we were on the verge of takeoff, they conspired against our government because they don't want Pakistan to become prosperous," he added.

PTI had announced that it will launch a protest against the alleged foreign conspiracy of regime change and the ousting of former prime minister Imran Khan in a series of rallies throughout the country.

The party has so far managed to pull massive crowd in Karachi, Lahore and Peshawar.

Imran was warmly greeted by a massive crowd at the Railway Station Ground located on Mardan-Nowshera road upon his arrival earlier.

According to media reports, an 80-feet long and 30-feet wide stage was set for the central leadership of PTI. Strict security measures were also put in place for the rally.

The former prime minister on Sunday claimed that three million people — a figure almost double the population of the capital city itself — would overcome all barricades put up by the government and reach the federal capital on his call.

Addressing a public rally in Abbottabad, the PTI chairman told his supporters to wait for his call, which could come on any day after May 20. He emphasised that his long march was aimed at “achieving real independence and democracy”.

“I firmly believe that no matter how many containers they will erect, more than 3 million people will reach Islamabad. The PTI supporters will reach Islamabad against the ‘imported government’,” the former prime minister said.

“This nation will never accept the robbers who came to power through an American conspiracy,” he said, adding that he could give the call for the march on any day after May 20."

“Despite all barricades or hurdles, they [the government] will not be able to stop the people from coming to Islamabad."


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