Imran Khan vows
to continue anti-govt
campaign till fair
elections are announced

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan vowed to continue his anti-government campaign during a mass rally in Islamabad on Saturday. “The nation will neither accept this American conspiracy, nor do they accept these dacoits who have been looting the nation for the past 30 years,” Khan said when he took the stage as thousands of people gathered at the Parade Ground in the Pakistani capital.

Imran Khan appeals the nation to continue his support for a fair and legal government.

He called on supporters to defeat candidates from the ruling coalition, in the upcoming by-elections for Punjab provincial assembly seats on July 17.

“The whole nation will never accept this imported government,” he said. “In by-elections, we have to defeat them.”

Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party organized the gathering in what it said was a protest against rising inflation and fuel prices.

Pakistan’s consumer price index rose 21.3 percent in June from a year earlier, the country’s statistics bureau said on Friday, for the South Asian nation to hit its highest inflation in 13 years.

Fuel prices have risen about 90 percent since end May after the government scrapped costly subsidies in a bid to cut its surging fiscal deficit and secure resumption of an International Monetary Fund bailout program.

It was Khan’s government that had given the subsidy in his last days in power to cool down public sentiment in the face of double-digit inflation, a move the IMF said deviated from the terms of the 2019 deal.

“The prices of commodities were high in the global market during our times as well, and we were in the IMF program, but we provided relief to our public,” he said during Saturday’s rally.

Appeals to nation

Imran Khan has said inflation is touching sky-high in Pakistan during the tenure of the coalition government.

PTI is now being blamed for the present turmoil, if this was the case, then why did the ‘imported government’ conspire to come into power?, said Imran Khan in a press conference in Islamabad here.

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan (front 3R) during an anti-government rally in Rawalpindi on July 2, 2022. (Photo courtesy – PTI)

The PTI chairman said inflation has taken over the country due to the wrong policies of the PML-N-led coalition government. The people of the country are protesting against record inflation and increasing loadshedding problems and the government using force against peaceful protestors.

The former prime minister said the economic condition is worsening with every passing day after the ouster of the PTI government through ‘foreign conspiracy’. They came into power to get rid of Rs1,100 billion corruption cases and get NRO-2, Imran Khan added.

Read more: Pakistan could receive $2bn from IMF, says PM Shehbaz

He recalled that IMF was demanding to increase fuel and electricity prices, but his government did not bow down to the demands of the funds and continued negotiations. Even IMF said Pakistan’s economy was on the right path, he added and asked what went wrong in the last 2 months that every sector is going down?

He reiterated that fair and transparent general elections are the only solution to steer the country out of the present turmoil. The ousted prime minister said he has never seen a partial Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in his life.

Terming Hamza Shahbaz, an illegal Punjab CM, Imran Khan claimed efforts are underway for rigging in the Punjab by-polls to ensure the rule of the Hamza government.

Inviting the people to attend a peaceful protest on Saturday evening in Islamabad, Imran Khan said he will lead the peaceful protest by himself.