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Ousted Pakistan PM Imran Khan to undertake 'long march' to Islamabad, seeks election date from government

Khan, who was ousted from power in April through a no-confidence motion vote in parliament, has blamed the United States and accused it of the regime change conspiracy because, he claims, of his independent foreign policy. On Friday, he reiterated his claims.

May 21, 2022
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Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan (Photo: Dawn)

A little over a month after his ouster from power, Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has announced his awaited “long march” to the capital Islamabad between 25-29 May in an attempt to force the government to dissolve parliament and declare early elections.

Addressing a rally in the Multan district of Punjab, Khan said that his party PTI had only one demand from the government that is the date for the next general elections. "It is not about politics anymore... what we're witnessing is a revolution,” he told his supporters.

Khan, who was ousted from power in April through a no-confidence motion vote in parliament, has blamed the United States and accused it of the regime change conspiracy because, he claims, of his independent foreign policy. On Friday, he reiterated his claims.

At the rally, he termed his rivals, who are now in the government, “slaves” and “corrupt criminals” while also appealing to his supporters, especially youth and women, to turn up for the long march.

“I always prayed to God to awaken our nation and make them aware so that they do not bow down their heads in front of any superpower or mafia and the Almighty has listened to my prayers,” Khan was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune.

Taking potshots at the United States and his political opponents, he said, “We have a history of such leaders who sold the independence of this country to Americans. Our leaders never allowed us to become a great nation.”

Significantly, Khan and his party are boosted by the Election Commission's move to disqualify 25 lawmakers of his party in the Punjab Assembly who switched sides. Earlier this week, the Supreme Court also ruled that votes of lawmakers who switched sides would not be counted.

This development and the deteriorating economic situation of the country have put the current government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on the backfoot. And Khan’s stepped-up campaign against the government and his long march at a time when the country is negotiating with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will make the government's job even harder.
(SAM)

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