Without naming anyone, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that a person sitting in Lahore, whom he called Mr X, is on a "mission" to make the "imported" government win the upcoming by-elections in Punjab.
"Mr X is sitting in Lahore to rig the by-elections. I will not reveal his name as you are already familiar with him. Earlier, the imported government bestowed the person with a highly influential rank in exchange for rigging in the 2013 elections," Imran said while addressing a rally on Friday in Khoshab in connection with the by-polls in Punjab to be held on July 17.
The former premier reiterated that he was not at war with the ‘neutrals’ while asserting talks with the latter hinged on free and fair elections.
In an off-the-cuff talk with journalists and anchors, Imran explained that undermining the 'neutrals' would be tantamount to “strengthening the enemy”, adding the fallout of any such clash would damage the country’s interests.
“Free and fair elections are the only solution to pull the country out of the crisis,” he said, adding that the economy will be recovered back to full health once a pro-people government is formed.
“If I would speak to the neutrals there would be only one stance — free and fair elections.”
The term “neutral” – a thinly-veiled reference to ‘establishment’ - has entered the lexicon of PTI and been a rallying cry ever since the military declared its hands-off strategy in its handling of the political crisis earlier this year when Imran was ousted via a no-confidence vote.
The tacit messaging has remained consistent until recently when the former prime minister seemingly tried to ease up on the narrative with some reservations during his rally at Islamabad’s Parade Ground where he clarified that he was not waging a battle against state institutions.
However, Imran maintained he would go on to protest if scales were tilted in the coalition government’s favour in the upcoming Punjab by-elections.
Expressing his misgivings about the polls on Friday, Imran also doubled down on his allegations preparations were afoot to rig the by-elections and warned about the possible public reaction against it.
“The bureaucracy does not back the PTI because they fear revenge from the Sharifs.”
Touching on the chances of him being arrested, the PTI chief shrugged off the threat and said that if the government wanted to arrest him, it was welcome to do so as he has not done anything to be fearful about. He added that the group of three slaves – referring to heads of three major ruling parties PPP, PML-N and JUI-F –have galvanised the enraged nation.
Lashing out at the PML-N-led coalition government, Imran went on to say that he would prefer occupying the opposition benches to joining hands with the ruling parties.
“Nobody is ready to speak to the leaders of this imported government. It is better to be in the opposition than to have a dialogue with PPP,” he said.
Meanwhile, Imran, while addressing a rally later in the day in Khoshab in connection with the by-polls in Punjab to be held on July 17, said that a person sitting in Lahore, whom he called Mr X, is on a "mission" to make the "imported" government win the upcoming by-elections in Punjab.
The former Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that the upcoming by-polls in Punjab is not just by-elections but it will decide the fate of the country. He claimed ‘Mr X’ has been stationed in Lahore to rig the upcoming by-elections.
The ousted prime minister revealed that they are receiving "threat calls" from a number "which cannot be identified". "They are trying to instil fear in people. A person sitting in Lahore has one mission that somehow these thieves win [by-]election. I say to him if you rig the elections people will say bad things about you. No matter how much rigging you do, you will not be able to win elections," he added.
The PTI chief also said that the nation will never accept the "imported government no matter how many FIRs are registered against him and his team's name. They beat [journalists] Ayaz Amir and arrested Imran Riaz and threw him in jail. But no matter what you do, we will not leave them [the unity government] alone," he added.
Calling the by-elections jihad, Imran said that they are going to decide the future of Pakistan. "They will decide whether they will be governed by thieves or not."
He said that apart from Mr X in Lahore, the chief election commissioner is also bent on supporting the incumbent government. "The CEC is trying to rig elections to make them win. They will rig elections but we will defeat them even if they do massive rigging."
Calling the current rulers "dacoits", the former premier said that they were imposed upon a nation of 220 million people via a "foreign conspiracy".
"I know the West the best. Those who are even on bail cannot get a job as peons. But here we made someone who was on bail our prime minister," he added.
He said that the current regime was trying to terrorise people and journalists. "Pakistanis will never accept Shehbaz, Hamza, Zardari and Fazl. We will never accept US slavery."
He said that Shehbaz, Nawaz and Zardari worship money as they were slaves of it and will never take a stand for Pakistan's interest due to their own interests.
"I have seen many poor countries and I've seen countries such as Switzerland that have limited resources but are among the richest. Nations are destroyed when only the poor are punished and the wealthy get away with anything.
"Allah has ordered us to support good and oppose evil. When someone as corrupt as Shehbaz, Nawaz, Zardari and Fazl govern, the country gets on the path of destruction."
Imran said that the US conducted 400 drone attacks during Nawaz and Zardari's tenure but they never condemned it. "These thieves cannot take a stand against the US because of their interests."
‘PDM, establishment don't want free, fair elections’
However, separately, Imran Khan expressed reservations over the intentions of the coalition government and the establishment to conduct free and fair elections in the country.
Sharing a report by a local media agency on his official Twitter handle, the ousted premier said that the findings of the Pattan report made it “obvious” why the government and the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) opposed the use of electronic voting machines (EVMs) in the upcoming polls – a policy the previous PTI government had tried to push through.
In its report, Pattan - a not-for-profit organisation - claims that the "use of EVM may eliminate 130 out of 163 poll rigging means" in the country.
"I am afraid neither the PDM [Pakistan Democratic Movement], who have perfected the art of rigging over the years want free and fair elections, nor does our establishment," he added.