ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan launched countrywide demonstrations yesterday, widening the canvas of his campaign to oust the government led by Nawaz Sharif.
The announcement came minutes after talks between the government and PTI hit a deadlock. Imran appears to have softened its stance on the crunch question of PM Nawaz’s resignation.
The PTI chief asked Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to go on one-month’s leave until the judicial commission investigated claims of rigging in last year’s general election.
“I will again make an important speech today,” he said, as he asked more supporters to reach the venue of his sit-in in Islamabad.
The PTI chief asked his followers to start following his call for civil disobedience — announced a few days earlier — and to continue the same till the PM stepped down. “We have started civil disobedience and will neither pay taxes nor utility bills,” he said.
He also asked Pakistani exapatriate to send their money through hundi and not through banks. “So that this illegal government does not get taxes,” he added.
The PTI chief vowed to continue the sit-in until his demands were accepted.
“Mian Sahib, leave your office for one month,” he said, addressing the PM. He warned that that his party would not let the government function and would continue its sit-in.
“Now, I have got used to sleeping here in this container,” he said to a cheering crowd, adding that no one could defeat a person who had decided to keep on fighting.
In reference to the PTI’s new demand that the prime minister must quit for 30 days, Imran said: “If it is proved through judicial inquiry after 30 days that there was no rigging, then you Nawaz Sharif can return as the PM. However, if it is proved that you had rigged the elections, then you will go home,” he said.
He said it was necessary for the PM to leave his position for one month, because no independent inquiry can be carried out if he remained in office.
“However, I feel that you are afraid to go on leave, because you are afraid that rigging will be established,” he said, addressing himself to the prime minister.
The PTI chief asked the people of Karachi to prepare themselves for his arrival. “I am coming to Karachi after getting the PM’s resignation,” he said, adding that he was also looking forward to his visit to Quetta.