- “I will live and die for Pakistan,” Imran Khan says during Peshawar rally.
- “We will not accept an imported government,” PTI chairman says.
- Ahsan Iqbal, Bilawal Bhutto lash out at Khan for violating Constitution.
PESHAWAR: PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has asked why the doors of the courts were opened late at night before his ouster from office.
The Supreme Court and Islamabad High Court on April 9 were all set to hear pleas past their notified timing regarding the deadline set by the apex court for the voting on the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly as former NA speaker Asad Qaiser did not hold voting on the move till nearly midnight.
However, in a turn of events, the speaker resigned and handed over the session to MNA Ayaz Sadiq, who held the voting on the no-confidence motion, and as a result, Khan became the first prime minister to be ousted through the democratic process.
But in today’s Peshawar rally, a charged Khan questioned the opening of courts and told the respected judges that he had gone to jail — during the lawyer’s movement — for an independent judiciary.
“The courts were opened at night. Why? Did I break any laws?” he questioned as he claimed that since joining politics, he has never incited people against institutions.
“I will live and die for Pakistan.”
The PTI chairman also warned that he was not that dangerous while he was part of the government, but now that he has been ousted, he will become “more dangerous” for the Opposition.
Khan said that every time a prime minister was ousted, people would celebrate it, but when he was removed from office, the masses registered a protest — referring to the Sunday rallies across the country.
“We will not accept an imported government and people have shown what they want by holding demonstrations against the move,” he said.
The PTI chairman maintained that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz are released on bail, while PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif is an absconder, whose daughter — PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz — was also released from jail on bail.
“America has insulted Pakistan by imposing these bandits on us; Shehbaz Sharif is facing corruption charges of Rs40 billion,” Khan added. “Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was sacked through a conspiracy by the USA, but this is not the Pakistan of 1970. This is the new Pakistan.”
Ex-prime minister Imran Khan repeatedly blamed the US for backing the no-confidence motion — that lead to his ouster early Sunday — and has refused to accept the newly elected premier, saying “there can’t be any bigger insult to this country” — but the Joe Biden’s administration denied any role.
Lashing out at PM Shehbaz, Khan said: “He will not find a place to hide if I ask masses to stage protests.”
The former premier said that those who had hatched the conspiracy were very happy that he was ousted from the government. “I was not dangerous when I was part of the government, but I will be more dangerous now.”
Taking a jibe at JUI-F’s chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman, Khan said: “For 30 years, ‘diesel’ has been selling Islam but I thank Allah that it was me, a sinful person, who went to the United Nations to get a resolution against Islamophobia passed.”
Shedding light on how foreign powers were involved in his ouster, he claimed that it was “India and Israel that celebrated my ouster the most”.
Responding to Imran Khan’s fiery speech, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari took to Twitter and called out the PTI chief for criticising the country’s judiciary.
Bilawal noted that Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, President Arif Alvi, and ex-premier Khan had violated the constitution.
“[Khan] tried to exploit NSC for political gains. Institutions [are] now neutral; Imran will not find anywhere to hide,” Bilawal tweeted.
Meanwhile, in a tweet, PML-N Secretary-General Ahsan Iqbal said that Imran Khan had subverted the Constitution.
“Imran Khan violated the Constitution. This is why the court opened its gates at midnight. The violators of the constitution must be punished,” he demanded.
MQM-P in ‘PPP’s lap’
Addressing the jalsa before Khan, PTI Vice Chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi criticised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, following diplomatic protocol, had congratulated Shehbaz Sharif for being elected as the 23rd prime minister of the country.
“Modi never called Imran Khan but now he has started tweeting to Shehbaz,” said Qureshi. “Imran Khan was right when he had said that one day, all other politicians will stand against him in unison.”
Qureshi said that Bilawal and Fazlur Rehman do not share an ideology, but they have similar vested interests.
He also took a swipe at MQM-P, which was an ally of the PTI government but had switched sides before the no-confidence motion, and said that for three years, MQM-P’s leadership opposed the PPP but went ahead and shook hands with them.
“But now, the Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui-led party is sitting in PPP’s lap,” he said.
More to follow