Unveiling his much-talked-about ‘Plan-C’ at a massive rally on Sunday, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan threatened a countrywide shutdown on December 16 if his longstanding demand for an independent audit of the May 2013 elections was not accepted.
“I will go to Lahore and shut it down on December 4. On December 8, I will shut down Faisalabad, on December 12, I will shut down Karachi, and on December 16, I will bring the entire country to a standstill if an inquiry is not initiated into the electoral fraud,” he told hundreds of thousands of his supporters on the Constitution Avenue in Islamabad.
Frenzied PTI supporters had converged on the federal capital from across the country for a rally that Imran had promised would be ‘historic and decisive’. It was a carnival atmosphere at the Constitution Avenue where PTI supporters, clad in the colours of the party flag, sang and danced to party songs. And young women and children, with party flags painted on their faces, shouted slogans in favour of their leader.
“I know the people of Lahore and Faisalabad are ready… I know Karachi is waiting for me,” Imran said, adding that his party was also ready for talks with the government. “The ball is now in your court, order investigations and resolve this issue,” Imran said addressing Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. “Otherwise, we will make it difficult for you to stay in power,” he said.
After December 16, the PTI would announce its ‘Plan D’, Imran said, adding that his party would neither call off its 109-day-long sit-in or its struggle against the electoral fraud till justice was served.
The PTI chief clarified that his agitation against the government was not for personal gains. “I’m not doing all this to become the country’s prime minister,” he added.
Referring to previous rounds of talks, Imran said the ruling PML-N had agreed to form a judicial commission and an investigation commission [under the judicial commission] comprising officials from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Military Intelligence (MI) and Intelligence Bureau (IB).
“Now we have given a fair proposal, the best we can offer, that the prime minister should not resign during investigations and we will continue our sit-in but there is no response from the government,” he added. “We want investigations into rigging and a result within four to six weeks under the supervision of the Supreme Court.”
The PTI chairman said his party has remained peaceful thus far, but what unfolded after December 4 would not be bearable for the rulers. “I am not asking for anything but my rights,” he said, adding that the status quo had left no option for him but to go to public.
The PTI chief said his party had two options: to fight or to accept injustice. “But if we let this issue go and decide not to take a stand against the rigging, the ruling elite will also rig the next election and come to power again,” he said.
Before making the big announcement, Imran put the entire scenario into perspective and discussed evidence – which the party claims it has – of pre- and post-elections rigging. He recalled his past statements where he had categorically said that he would take to streets if his rigging complaints were not addressed.
“After the elections, I asked for investigations into four constituencies from my hospital bed and on my first day in the National Assembly. Then I went to the Supreme Court. But nothing happened because all were involved in match-fixing,” he claimed.
He said it was through printing of extra ballots that the PML-N – which had received 6.8 million votes in 2008 elections – managed to bag 15 million votes in the 2013 elections. “The rulers rigged the elections and then denied us justice,” Imran pointed out.
He said the rulers would not spend money on the people, since they came to power through rigging and fake votes, and would go for projects like Metro bus from where they could get billions of rupees in kickbacks instead of spending on health and education.
The PTI chairman pointed out that in Pakistan 400,000 children died every year due non availability of clean drinking water, a woman died every 30 minutes during delivery and 25 million children were out of school.
Referring to Premier Nawaz Sharif’s recent speech in Havelian wherein he complained that Imran used harsh and derogatory language, Imran said he used harsh language because he was concerned for the welfare of the people.
He said the PPP and PML-N had established a partnership in 1988 and at that time the exchange rate of the dollar was Rs15 while it is Rs103. “The rulers have wreaked havoc with the country and stashed their money in foreign banks,” he added.
Imran also mentioned the recent anti-PTI media campaign of the government, saying that he would approach the court against the misuse of public money. “The government is using your [people’s] money and we will go to court for its misuse,” he added.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 1st, 2014.