Imran Khan also announced that his party would resign from the provincial assemblies in the first rally since the attempt on his life.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has called off the “Long March” to the capital, Islamabad, fearing chaos and has announced that his party will resign from government councils in a fresh bid to push for snap elections.
“I have decided not to go to Islamabad because I know there will be chaos and a loss for the country,” Khan said in his first public address in the city of Rawalpindi near the capital since an earlier assassination attempt. Month.
Al Jazeera’s Kamal Haider, from Islamabad, said Khan made an emotional plea to his supporters saying that “chaos” would not be in Pakistan’s interest given that the country was facing an economic crisis.
The South Asian country was facing a difficult economic situation – with accelerating inflation and a falling rupee. It also had to secure a loan from the International Monetary Fund in August to avoid default.
The cricketer-turned-politician and his party Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have staged protests across the country to push the government for snap elections since he was sacked as prime minister in a vote of no confidence in April. It was allegedly removed as part of a US-led conspiracy. Although he said earlier this month that the United States was not behind his ouster in a major turn.
The protests culminated in a march to Islamabad that threatened to exacerbate political turmoil in the nuclear-armed country, which is in economic crisis. A rally organized by his supporters in Islamabad in May turned violent.
PTI to terminate state associations
One of his biggest announcements was plans to leave the regional councils and two administrative units.
We will not be part of this system. “We have decided to leave all gatherings and get out of this corrupt system,” Khan said while addressing thousands of his supporters.
PTI has already resigned from the federal parliament but remains in power in two provinces and two administrative units – Gilgit-Baltistan and Pakistan-administered Kashmir.
Al Jazeera correspondent said that Khan’s decision to resign from the councils of Punjab Khyber Pakhtunkhwa state was aimed at pressuring the government to call early elections.
Haider reported that “dissolving the state assemblies may create a major crisis as the country will have no choice but to go to snap elections – something Khan has been calling for since his removal from the post of chief minister in April.”
“Now the ball will be in the government’s court.”
Khan delivered his speech on Saturday hundreds of meters away from the crowd of between 25,000 and 30,000, separated by barbed wire and sacked by police officers.
In the November 3 assassination attempt, a gunman opened fire at close range as Khan’s convertible container truck was making its way through a busy street in Wazirabad city in Punjab province.
Tight security was put in place and a police official told local TV channel Geo TV that a total of 10,000 personnel were deployed to attend the event, with snipers stationed at various points for Khan’s security.
The former prime minister had appointed Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and a senior military official to plot his assassination, but the government and military denied their involvement. Sharif called for a transparent investigation. One person was arrested over the incident and claimed he acted alone.
Khan has not provided any evidence to substantiate his claims.
Interior Minister Rana Sanalla – whom Khan accuses of being involved in the assassination plot – issued a “red alert” on Friday, warning of security threats at the gathering.
The government says the assassination attempt was the work of a lone wolf who is now in captivity.
Saturday’s rally took place two days after the government named the former intelligence officer as the next army chief.
The appointment of Major General Syed Asim Munir ended months of speculation about a position long considered the real power in the nuclear-armed Islamic State of more than 220 million people.
Munir served as the head of the Internal Intelligence Agency under Khan, but his stint ended after only eight months after reports fell.
The leader of the movement, who accused the army of overthrowing him, welcomed the new commander of the army. He praised the army as a professional force but added that they must obey the constitution.
Pakistan’s military, the sixth largest in the world, wields great influence in the country, carrying out at least three coups since independence in 1947, and ruling the country for more than three decades.
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