Imran Khan says
will reply Shehbaz
about Pak Army in
Jhelum gathering today

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Imran asks overseas Pakistanis to sponsor his party’s anti-govt march, says “This is a defining moment, the nation has united as they never did before

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ISLAMABAD: In response to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s addressing at the National Assembly today, former prime minister Imran Khan has said that he will give befitting reply in Jhelum public meeting tomorrow (on Tuesday).

Meanwhile, he called on overseas Pakistanis on Saturday to donate money for an anti-government march on Islamabad that is expected to take place by the end of this month.

After weeks of political turmoil, Imran Khan was removed from power on April 10 in a no-confidence vote by the political parties that formed a new government after his ouster.

Screen grab taken from Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Imran Khan’s virtual speech on May 7, 2022.

He has refused to recognize the new cabinet headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and has been holding mass rallies to demand early elections. The five-year term of present assemblies expires in August next year.

The ex-premier, who has been enjoying the support of expat Pakistanis — the source of billions of dollars in foreign remittances to the South Asian nation — addressed them in a virtual session as part of a campaign to mobilize the public ahead of the planned protest march on the Pakistani capital.

“You all should contribute,” he said. “We need overseas Pakistanis’ help for successful arrangement of our march.” He added he would give a call for the protest march after May 20.

He urged overseas Pakistanis to speak up on social media and in public campaigns about a “conspiracy” that was behind the removal of his government.

Khan has been alleging that his removal was influenced by the US and that groups opposed to his rule had colluded with Washington. Both the US and current Pakistani government have denied the claims.

He thanked Pakistani expats for organizing demonstrations abroad to protest the ouster of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party from power. “This is a defining moment,” he said. “The nation has united as they never did before.”

Lawmakers elected on reserved seats

should be jailed for switching loyalties

PTI Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday said that lawmakers who were elected on reserved seats and “sold” their loyalties should be “thrown in jail”.

One who has a constituency can argue that the PTI was unpopular in his area and therefore he had to abandon ship, he said while speaking to a gathering of Punjab lawmakers in Islamabad.

PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses a gathering of Punjab lawmakers in Islamabad.

“That is still understandable [but] how can someone go [to the other side] on a reserved seat? They have clearly sold their conscience. They should be ashamed […] they should be sent straight to jail.”

Imran began his address by paying tribute to the efforts of the lawmakers “fighting till the last ball” in the Punjab Assembly. “I went to meet Asia [Amjad]. She seemed better. She is still unable to speak but she is okay otherwise, thank God,” he said.

Amjad was rushed to a private hospital in Lahore last month after her health deteriorated and was treated for a blood clot in her brain. The PTI had claimed that the lawmaker was “tortured” by the police and PML-N “goons” during the chaos that took place at the Punjab Assembly on April 16, when election for the chief minister was held.

The PTI chairman recognised the fact that even though Amjad was unable to speak when he visited her, she was full of passion.

“All of you went through a test and your performance was excellent — some were outstanding even,” he said, specifically mentioning the “Pindi team” and the performance of female lawmakers.

Abbottabad: PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing a jalsa on Sunday, May 8, 2022

“You have passed a very big test. And you have attained a special status in the party and in my eyes.”

He went on to say that turncoats who had abandoned the party, after once making grandiose claims of being willing to render sacrifices, had forever humiliated themselves. “People will remind their children about what they have done.”

He went on to say that certain people had advised him buy loyalties of opposing lawmakers. “Our people told me that we can buy their people. We need Rs1 billion and we can buy eight to nine of their people. I got such an offer,” he said, adding that several people were “ready” to provide the money.

“But I made a principled decision.”

He said that those people who would contribute the money would then attach their hopes to earning that money back and that he would ultimately stoop to the level of other political parties.

“What did this achieve? It brought about a revolution the scale of which none of you can imagine,” he said, adding that only time would prove it to be the biggest revolution in the country’s history.

Imran said that his political opponents and their “handlers” had thought he would lose steam after staging the rally in Lahore. “I assure you that what I saw in Mianwali yesterday […] I have never before seen such a rally in Mianwali,” he said, referring to the rally held on Friday.

Would never have agreed to US

demand of military bases in Pakistan

PTI chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday reiterated that during his time in power he would “never have agreed” to any US demands of being given military bases in Pakistan in the aftermath of the former’s evacuation from the neighbouring Afghanistan.

Imran, who was voted out of the top office last month via a no-confidence movement, which he alleges was masterminded by the US through the help of local players over his pursuance of an independent foreign policy, made these remarks while addressing overseas Pakistanis in a video message.

He said that the US wanted bases in Pakistan in order to “conduct [counter attacks] from here in case if there were any terrorism in Afghanistan” — something he said he found “absolutely unacceptable”.

Imran said Pakistan had already lost 80,000 lives in the US-led ‘war on terror’ and still its sacrifices were never appreciated, with many US politicians blaming it instead.

“First they blamed us, then they didn’t appreciate us, our country and tribal areas were destroyed and now [they] are again asking for bases. I would have never agreed to this and the problems [between us] started from there.”

It is pertinent to mention that Imran, in an interview in June 2021, had categorically said that Pakistan would “absolutely not” allow any bases and use of its territory to the US for any sort of action inside Afghanistan.

His comments today were similar to the ones he made in a recent podcast where he said that the US was “asking for bases here to stop international terrorism in Afghanistan”.

In today’s video address, the PTI chairman said the US wasn’t used to Pakistan’s government “making independent decisions”. He said he wanted Pakistan’s foreign policy to be for its own benefit instead of pursuing someone else’s objectives.

“The problems started here,” he said, adding that Pakistan’s relationship with China and visit to Russia were also a “problem” for the US.

Imran alleged that the “conspiracy” to topple his government started after he refused the demand for military bases and was aided by local abettors.

He said that by July and August of last year he had understood that “something was happening”. Imran said the “bigger conspiracy” than his government being toppled was in who replaced him as he lashed out at the current government and branded it a “corrupt mafia”.

Imran criticised the members of the coalition government, claiming that “powerful local forces” had prevented their convictions in the cases against them.

He said that in his experience, Pakistan’s “ruling elite is corrupt, soft and slaves” and would not survive without the US.

“To place such people over us is a conspiracy against the future of this country and also its disrespect.”