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Certain countries backing opposition against my govt; says Imran Khan

Opposition declares December 13 public meeting final power show, decides for long march to Islamabad and resignations from Parliament

Nation special report

ISLAMABAD: A new volatile and confronting political situation has emerged in Pakistan and Prime Minister Imran Khan, accepting the challenge thrown by combine opposition, has declared to hold by-elections on all those seats which will be vacant as a result of resignations.

While talking to senior media persons in Islamabad, he once again reiterated that he believes that certain countries are at the back of opposition against my government and to destabilise Pakistan but despite this support, opposition will never be successful.

PM IMRAN KHAN

Another interesting situation has developed by the bold measures being taken by Saleem Mandiwala, Deputy Chairman, Senate, who has declared to expose NAB not only within the country but also will black list it in rest of the world, seeking help of international human rights institutions and forums.

Commenting over the confronting situation between PTI Government and opposition parties, the political observers said that swords have been taken out from holsters and a formal battle will begin in a couple of days. Government is taking every possible tactic to stop the public meeting at Minar-e-Pakistan, Lahore on December 13 which is declared by PDM as final power show against Imran Khan.

Adopting a ridiculous ploy, Punjab Government has started watering the plants and trees at the ground of Minar-e-Pakistan, the venue of public meeting. The government’s plan is aimed to fill the ground with water and the participants of the meeting would not be able to stand there. Opposition has condemned government’s approach vowing that these manoeuvres can not stop holding the power show.

Opposition’s decisions

Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief and leader of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) Maulana Fazlur Rehman has asked all MNAs and party heads of the opposition to deliver their resignations to their party heads in a bid to push the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government for a fresh election.

Fazlur said the above while addressing a press conference, flanked by two prominent opposition leaders, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Maryam Nawaz and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari.

“All opposition lawmakers, from the national and provincial assemblies throughout the country, should send in their resignations to their respective party leaderships by December 31,” said the JUI-F leader.

Fazlur maintained that the PDM is unafraid of any government crackdown.

“The government has been affected, the legs of its chair are shaking,” he said. “All that is needed now is one push.”

ISLAMABAD: Maulana Fazlur Rehman (Head, PDM), briefing media-persons about opposition’s strategy against the PTI Government on Wednesday. Also pictured are (from left) Raja Pervez Ashraf, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Maryam Nawaz and Senator Sherry Rehman. (Nation picture)

In reply to a question, he stressed that there would be turning back from the resignations. “Once we give them [resignations], we will not lick them like they did,” he said, referring to various lawmakers of the PTI who had resigned during the 2014 dharna but then returned to the Parliament a few months later.

Meanwhile, in a different news conference, PML-N Punjab president Rana Sanaullah had said, “The opposition will resign from the National Assembly (in the first phase) and not let the Imran Khan government hold by-polls. We want new free and fair elections and there will be no compromise on this.”

He added that the PPP had certain reservations about resigning from provincial assemblies and that the PDM may only send in resignations from the NA. “Nawaz Sharif has spoken to PPP co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman and reached a consensus regarding resignations from the NA. The other leaders of the alliance have also been taken into confidence,” Sanaullah had said earlier in the day.

Imran Khan

Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was ready for a ‘grand national dialogue’ without discussing concessions to corrupt politicians.

“I am ready for a national dialogue on issues…but I can’t allow an NRO to corrupt politicians,” the PM said while responding to questions by senior journalists at the Prime Minister’s House. “If compromises are to be made with corrupt politicians, then all criminals across the country must be released first.”

He said he was fighting a battle for (establishing) rule of law in the country, and that he has no personal enmity with anyone. The policy of merit was a prerequisite to bring a true change in the country, he maintained.

Imran Khan said that he had been observing the practices of successive regimes for the past 40 years and it was strong belief that the leadership must be held accountable to reform the country.

“I always believed in merit-based policy. It is a must for establishing writ of the state. Only in monarchy are rulers not held accountable. In democratic dispensation, no one is above the law. But these politicians want an NRO and for this they have been threatening me. I can’t allow it,” he said.

Khan recalled that former dictator General (r) Pervez Musharraf had spent billions of rupees to probe cases against PPP President Asif Zardari and PML-N head Nawaz Sharif. However, when the probe was about to reach a logical conclusion, these corrupt politicians compelled Musharraf for a deal and NRO was awarded. “They want me to do the same, which will never happen,” he asserted.

Elaborating his point, Imran Khan said when the federal government had urged the opposition parties to support legislation on laws related to Financial Action Task Force (FATF) regulations, the opposition put forth 34 demands – all were related to curtailing powers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). “They simply wanted to dismantle the authority.”

“This is a defining moment for Pakistan…entire political leadership is united against me because I am not allowing them go scot-free,” the PM said and added that due to honesty and integrity of the government, civil and military leadership were on the same page.

Ready for by-elections

Responding to a question, Imran Khan said that the government would not be rattled by the resignations of opposition lawmakers. “My confidence is also building now. There is a constitutional way if someone wants to send me packing. We will hold by-elections if the opposition resigns. This tactic won’t work anymore,” he stated.

The PM said one could not rule out a “foreign hand” behind the opposition’s campaign against the PTI government. “There may be some ‘external powers’ that may be behind the recent campaign of the opposition to destabilise the PTI government. There is a coalition of nations who want to keep corrupt people atop in Pakistan. They [politicians] serve their purpose,” he added.

Imran Khan said the “coalition of nations” have destroyed many Muslim countries one-by-one for their motives. “Just take examples of Iraq, Syria, Libya, Afghanistan, etc. They also wanted to pit Saudi Arabia against Iran. They may support destabilization in Pakistan too,” he said without mentioning any country.