Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said that those who “installed” incumbent rulers in power will be held responsible for the country’s destruction and added that it was the collective responsibility of the entire nation and institutions to save the country from “thieves”.
“The country is heading towards destruction and it’s not only my responsibility but the responsibility of the entire nation and institutions to stop this,” he said while addressing a press conference in Peshawar on Saturday.
The PTI chairman also said that his party will approach the Supreme Court for its right to peaceful protest.
The statement came days after Khan took many by surprise when he suddenly announced ending his “Haqeeqi Azadi March” and decided to give a six-day ultimatum to the ruling coalition to announce an election date or else he would return to the capital with more people next time.
Yesterday at a similar presser, he rejected the notion that a deal had been reached with the establishment, saying that he ended the “Azadi March” only out of fear of bloodshed.
“Our protest was peaceful but the government turned it into a violent one. In Lahore, police stopped a bus filled with lawyers, dragged them out and beat them. The government brought in selected officers, including the inspector general of police, who committed atrocities,” the former prime minister had said.
Khan, in today’s media interaction, said institutions were playing a role of spectators while the coalition government led by PML-N was busy in “destroying” the country.
The former premier said he was ready for negotiations with the government but only if his demand for early and transparent polls was accepted.
“My contention is that the more they [government] will remain in power further the country will move towards chaos,” he added.
Criticising the government’s decision to increase the fuel prices, the ousted premier said the “imported government” was not purchasing Russian oil in ‘discounted price’ due to fear of its “masters” [the United States].
He claimed his government inked an agreement with the Russian authorities to buy crude oil on discounted prices. “Despite being the strategic ally of the US, India reduced the oil prices because it is purchasing oil from Russia.”
Petition for peaceful protest
Khan, while lashing out at the authorities for torturing and conducting raids at “peaceful” PTI workers during his party’s ‘Haqeeqi Azadi March’, said his party will file a petition in the Supreme Court against the government on Monday.
He said he will approach the apex court against the government for creating hurdles in the way of the protesters and ask the top court whether staging ‘peaceful’ protests are allowed in the country.
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Khan said his party will also file a complaint against the police officials allegedly involved in dispersing the PTI protesters for the registration of first information report (FIR).
He said come what may he will not accept the incumbent government and will give another deadline for the next protest after his six-day ultimatum expired.
“I will sacrifice my life but will never accept them [government]. I am ready to fight till the end… we will come prepared this time,” he added.
The former premier said he had directed his party members to go to their respective constituencies and start preparations for the ‘next march’ to Islamabad.
He also announced challenging the recently amended NAB Amendment Bill and the Election Act Amendment Bill in the court, saying that depriving overseas Pakistanis of their basic right is an injustice.
He also reiterated his allegations that “foreign conspiracy” was hatched against his government for following an ‘independent foreign policy’.
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Since his ouster through a no-confidence motion, Khan has been rallying across the country to build momentum against the government to force it to announce early elections, and the May 25 long march was supposed to stay put until a date was announced. However, that did not happen.
Nevertheless, one impact of the long march and the ultimatum was that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said the doors were open for talks with the opposition but he would not take any dictation. Speaking on the floor of the House last week, the premier even offered to form a committee to discuss the next elections.
Political observers said the budget and reforms were one thing, but the ruling alliance was also taking some time so that the impact of their decisions evaporated before they went to elections – possibly this October.