Image showing protesters standing outside the Pakistan High Commission in London. — Murtaza Ali Shah

Image showing protesters standing outside the Pakistan High Commission in London. — Murtaza Ali Shah

LONDON: PTI held a protest outside the Pakistan High Commission to convey a loud and clear message that they would not accept the “minus-one formula” — a reference to the party’s belief that attempts are underway to disqualify PTI’s Chairman Imran Khan from electoral politics.

The London protest was held in coordination with the ones held across Pakistan on the call of the party’s central office to coincide with Imran Khan’s speech at a large gathering in Gujranwala where he announced to call for a new round of agitation if “neutrals” didn’t take steps to hold early elections.

The London demonstration was attended by the newly-elected PTI office bearers, including PTI London’s President Waqas Sagar, Secretary-General Nabeel Qureshi, Senior-Vice President Taqweem Ahsan, and Youth Secretary Aurangzeb Khan, as well as PTI UK’s President Imran Khalil, General Secretary Rana Hamid Afzal, and Women  Secretary Nasreen Memon.

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Sahibzada Jahangir, Farzana Mukhtar, Maheen Faisal, Shahid Destageer, Amir Khan and Adnan Shareef, membership coordinator and co-head of the literary society, also addressed participants at the demonstration.

The speakers said they had gathered to show their support for Khan and to send a clear message that the PTI chief should not be disqualified or knocked out through any other means as this will be damaging to Pakistan’s democratic process. 

They were carrying placards and banners showing support for their leader and chanted slogans of “minus-one formula na manzoor” outside the Pakistan High Commission for three hours.

Waqas Sagar said Khan was a popular leader, who has always respected the judicial system of Pakistan.

“His track record shows he has worked all his life to uphold rule of law. He has worked for the independence of the judiciary. He cannot even think of showing disregard to the judiciary,” Sagar said.

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Nabeel Qureshi said Pakistanis had rejected the PTI chairman’s removal from power through an alleged American conspiracy and stood by him against injustice to him. He said some elements had made a malicious conspiracy of “minus one” against Khan but “such plans will be defeated”.

Imran Khalil said Pakistan was liberated in 1947 but the country never had real freedom. He said the “Haqeezi Azadi” movement was now being run by Khan and the whole nation stood by him.

Sahibzada Jahangir announced that hunger strikes and protests will be held across the UK if the party’s chief was disqualified in any of the cases against him.

“We will go to every extent to protest and this will send a very bad message to the international community. Therefore it’s important to not do anything that knocks out Imran Khan through any means other than the process of voting,” he said.

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Farzana Mukhtar said that Pakistan has been plunged into the worst crisis and the only way out is possible through free and fair elections.

Maheen Faisal said nobody else other than Imran Khan will be accepted as the leader of Pakistan.

“Imran Khan has fought hard and that’s why some people want to knock him out from politics but PTI workers will never let such a nefarious plan succeed,” she remarked.

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