Pakistani Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif claimed on Monday that Imran Khan wants to wage a “civil war” in the country, a day after the ousted prime minister demanded his supporters march in a peaceful march to Islamabad on May 25 to press for the dissolution of the National Assembly and new elections.
Khan, 69, a cricketer-turned-politician, was removed from power by a vote of no-confidence in Parliament by opposition parties last month.
Imran Niazi wants to launch a civil war in the country. But he is wrong. The nation will never forgive him [for the sin] Prime Minister Shahbaz said on Monday, while talking about questions from the press.
Asked if the government would call on the army to stop Khan’s long march, Shahbaz said a decision would be made if and when it was needed.
Khan said in a press conference after the meeting of the Basic Committee of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party in Peshawar on Sunday that the march will turn into a sit-in and will continue until his demands are accepted.
He said during the press conference that “the main demands of the march to the capital were the immediate dissolution of the National Assembly and the determination of the date of the next general elections.”
Khan said he wanted people from all walks of life to take part in the rally to make a fuss against his dismissal as prime minister, which he described as “illegal”.
“In its nearly 4 year tenure, the PTI government has borrowed Rs 20,000 crore in loans, which is an 80% increase in loans taken since 1947. Do they have any single project to showcase these loans?” the prime minister said in a tweet targeting Khan “People want answers”.
After his dismissal, Khan embarked on a brisk tour of major cities and addressed large congregations to sell his theory of deportation, seemingly convincing his base of support that he was a victim and should be brought back to power with a clear mandate to run the country and end its problems.
Khan accused the United States of plotting to overthrow his elected government, citing communications from the country’s ambassador to Washington.
The US government has frankly denied these allegations several times.
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on Sunday warned Pakistan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf to take action if its protesters were to advance towards Islamabad “with the intent of creating chaos”. Speaking at a press conference in Bahawalpur, Punjab province, Sanaullah said the government and its allies are empowered to take a decision on the course of action against the planned PTI long drive to Islamabad.
I don’t know what decision the leaders of the coalition government will take, but if they decide [to go for] Move in, we won’t even let the protesters out of their homes.”
The interior minister also rejected the movement’s march, saying it would not be a major concern for the government.