Imran Khan News LIVE Updates: Addressing the rally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) in Islamabad, Prime Minister Khan said foreign elements are using local politicians and money to mend the country’s foreign policy. In a massive show of strength ahead of a crucial no-confidence motion against his government, Pakistan’s embattled Prime Minister Imran Khan on Sunday addressed a mammoth rally in the national capital where he claimed that foreign powers were involved in a conspiracy to topple his coalition government.
In his speech, Khan also made an impassioned appeal to his party lawmakers while exhorting those from the opposition to desist from voting against him the upcoming no-trust vote against him. Exhorting those from the opposition to desist from voting against him the upcoming no-trust vote against him.
Addressing the rally of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Party (PTI) titled Amr Bil Maroof’ (enjoin the good) and billed as a “historic” event at Parade Ground in Islamabad, Prime Minister Khan said foreign elements are using local politicians and money to mend the country’s foreign policy and asserted that he has a letter as evidence to support his claims.
“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know from what places attempts are being to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing but we will not compromise on national interest,” Khan said in his marathon speech that lasted more than an hour and a half.
“The letter I have is proof and I want to dare anyone who is doubting this letter. I will invite them off the record. We have to decide for how long we will have to live like this. We are getting threats. There are many things about the foreign conspiracy which will be shared very soon,” he said.
At the beginning of his address, Khan thanked the participants of the rally for responding to his call and gathering in Islamabad from every part of the country. Khan said that poor countries are backward because the law there fails to catch the rich who are involved in white-collar crimes. They transfer stolen and looted money to offshore accounts. Small thieves do not destroy a country like the way big thieves do, he said.
“These ‘three stooges’ are looting the country for years and all this drama is being done to have Imran Khan surrender like Musharraf. They are trying to blackmail the government. General Musharraf tried to save his government and gave these thieves NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) and it resulted in the destruction of Pakistan,” Khan was quoted as saying by the Dawn newspaper.
“Come what may, I will not forgive them even if my government goes or even if I lose my life,” he said, apparently referring to former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif, Pakistan Peoples’ Party leader and former president Asif Ali Zardari and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI) leader Fazlur Rehman.
The motion will now be tabled on Monday after which seven days of the debate should take place before an actual vote.
The political turmoil comes as Pakistan faces a recurring economic crisis, and Khan’s government is banking on the International Monetary Fund to release the next tranche of a $6 billion rescue package to shore up dwindling foreign currency reserves.
Khan, a former captain of Pakistan’s national cricket team, came to power in 2018, after the leaders of the country’s two mainstream parties were discredited by accusations of corruption. Political analysts say the country’s powerful military had supported Khan’s rise to power, and that the generals have now become disenchanted with his leadership. Khan has denied receiving backing from the military.
During the latest power struggle, the military has said it would remain neutral, leaving it to political parties to decide Khan’s fate. Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif, from the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, took aim at Asad Qaisar, the speaker of the lower house, for adjourning the no-confidence proceedings until after the weekend.
“We strongly protest it,” Sharif told a news conference on Friday said.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, leader of the rival Pakistan People’s Party, described the speaker as acting as a “personal servant” of the prime minister. The speaker said in a live telecast that he adjourned the proceedings in order to conform with a longstanding tradition to refrain from carrying out parliamentary business on the first day of a session convened shortly after the death of an MP.
In recent weeks, more than 20 lawmakers deserted Khan, leaving him short of the minimum 172 that he needs for a simple majority in parliament. Political analysts expect Khan’s supporters to use the weekend to persuade some of the turncoats to return to the fold.
Meantime, an IMF review that was scheduled for this week has yet to happen and undermined by political uncertainty the rupee remains under pressure, with the central bank’s foreign currency reserves having fallen to $14.9 billion as of March 18.
Meanwhile, sources have told CNN-News18 that a careful deal aimed at assuaging both the riled-up opposition and the current government may be the solution to the current upheaval, as Khan may announce early elections after the Budget is presented, possibly ahead of time too.
Khan ‘has to be polite towards all institutions’ for a win-win situation for the government and opposition, said the sources. CNN-News18 had earlier reported that the leader might even resign at the public gathering. However, Khan has repeatedly denied any such move, reiterating that he would stay in his post.
On the government seeking clarification from the Supreme Court on a constitutional point (interpretation of Article 63-A) over the disqualification of dissident lawmakers who have threatened to vote against Khan during the no-trust motion, the apex court will also have to reject the presidential reference under the agreement, the sources said.
Khan will have asked the Chief Minister of Punjab Usman Ahmad Khan Buzdar to resign ‘immediately’, the sources said. Buzdar is said to be unpopular within Khan’s party, the opposition and the military, signaling a lack of political consensus with the PM at the forefront.
PPP leader Yousuf Raza Gillani may also become the Chairman of the Upper House or Senate of Pakistan under the deal, the sources said.
The government will also have to assure the opposition of a free and fair decision in the PTI foreign funding case, the sources said. Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party has been accused of withholding critical information from Pakistan’s Election Commission regarding a foreign funding case.
Meanwhile, in another point under the agreement, the government has to lay off speeding up any army postings or appointments, the sources said, adding that the Pakistan Peoples Party, Pakistan Muslim League (N), and Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam have agreed upon all the mentioned deals and would ‘celebrate their victory with the announcement of early elections.
Allies will also have to be neutral under the deal; they would not join the PTI or Opposition in NCM, sources said. However, if Khan fails to agree to the points or disobeys them, there would be ‘chaos’ in the country, posing a ‘dangerous’ threat to the country’s stability, the sources added.