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Pakistan prime minister warns of civil war as Imran Khan calls for 'long march' to Islamabad

Addressing a press conference, Imran Khan reiterated on Sunday: "There was a foreign conspiracy against Pakistan from the US. In this regime change, they used locals — the most corrupt people, who were ready to become part of any conspiracy to save their corruption.”

May 23, 2022
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Pakistan prime minister warns of civil war as Imran Khan calls for 'long march' to Islamabad (Photo: Dawn)

The country will not forgive Imran Khan if civil war breaks out in Pakistan, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif warned his predecessor hours after Khan announced a long march to the capital Islamabad on 25 May seeking early elections.

“Imran Niazi wants civil war but let me tell you the nation will not forgive you... it will be your collar and the people’s hands,” Sharif was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune. The warning came as the PTI led by former prime minister Khan stepped up pressure on the government to announce the date of the elections.

On Sunday, Khan, who was forced out of power through a parliamentary vote in April, put two key demands: the dissolution of the National Assembly and the announcement of the date of general elections. He said his supporters will march toward Islamabad for the “battle of real freedom.”

Ever since his ouster, Khan is openly accusing the United States of regime change in the country, holding it, along with his political opponents, responsible for the loss of his government.

Addressing a press conference, Imran Khan reiterated on Sunday: "There was a foreign conspiracy against Pakistan from the US. In this regime change, they used locals — the most corrupt people, who were ready to become part of any conspiracy to save their corruption.”

“We did our best that somehow this conspiracy could be voided, but unfortunately we couldn't stop it," Khan said.

Significantly, the Pakistan military, which had played a key role in bringing him to power in 2018, and backed his regime for over three years, didn’t come to his rescue when a no-confidence motion was moved in the parliament. 

In a direct reference to the powerful military, Khan advised that it should stick to its stated stance of being "neutral".

The one-month-old government of Shehbaz Sharif has been facing a dual challenge - saving the country’s fast deteriorating economy and tackling the growing political challenge being thrown by his rival Imran Khan.

Furthermore, there also appear internal differences among allies in the government with regard to its approach to elections.

(SAM)

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