Imran Khan calls off Islamabad rally, threatens to quit assemblies
Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan has canceled the march to Islamabad out of fear of disorder. He also declared that his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party will quit the state assemblies and push for an early election to National Assembly. However, he said a final decision will be taken after consultation with the chief ministers and the PTI's parliamentary party meeting.
Why does this story matter?
- Khan, who was deposed as Pakistan's prime minister in April, has been rallying supporters and calling for early elections.
- Khan, a vocal opponent of the present administration, recently suffered an assassination attempt, which he blamed on Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
- The event brought up memories of a 2007 protest in which ex-Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was shot dead.
What exactly did Khan say?
"We will not be part of this system. We have decided to quit all the assemblies and get out of this corrupt system in this regard," Khan said while addressing a rally in Rawalpindi. Khan repeatedly blamed the attack on PM Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and ISI Counter Intelligence Wing director, Major-General Faisal Naseer, while appearing with plaster on his right leg.
Watch: Video shared by Khan on Twitter
I want to thank all the people who came in such huge numbers from across Pakistan to our Rawalpindi Azadi March yeaterday. Our Tehreek will continue until we establish rule of law and real freedom. pic.twitter.com/kTDBTVCwN2— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) November 27, 2022
Protest against government to continue, says Khan
Khan further stated that he will continue to protest till new elections were called. Elections in Pakistan are not scheduled until the current National Assembly's term expires in August 2023. Notably, PTI legislators had previously resigned from the legislature, but their resignations were rejected. Khan's party now governs in Punjab, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan-occupied Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan. It is also represented in Sindh and Balochistan legislatures.
'Red alert' warning by interior minister
Meanwhile, Interior Minister Sanaullah, whom Khan accuses of being engaged in the assassination plan, issued a "red alert" warning of security concerns for Khan's gathering on Friday, Al-Jazeera reported. The gathering on Saturday came two days after PM Sharif selected General Asim Munir as the next army chief. His nomination put an end to months of debate about the true power of the country.