Imran questions judiciary's role in his ouster, calls youth to raise voice against Shehbaz Sharif

He reiterated that a 'foreign conspiracy' was plotted in Washington with the help of the Opposition parties to overthrow the PTI government in Pakistan.
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, addresses an anti government rally, in Peshawar, Pakistan, early Thursday, April 14, 2022. (Photo | AP)
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, addresses an anti government rally, in Peshawar, Pakistan, early Thursday, April 14, 2022. (Photo | AP)

PESHAWAR: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf Chairman Imran Khan has questioned the judiciary to explain the motive behind opening its doors at midnight on Saturday, hours before his ouster as the prime minister via a successful no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.

The no-trust vote took place after a high political drama in the National Assembly with the Supreme Court overturning the decision of the Deputy Speaker to reject the opposition sponsored no-confidence motion against the ruling PTI-led coalition.

In his first public address on Wednesday at a rally in Peshawar since losing power, Khan directly addressed the judiciary, and asked: "I ask the judiciary that when you opened the court in the dead of night ... this nation has known me for 45 years. Have I ever broken the law? When I played cricket, did anyone ever accuse me of match-fixing?

Referring to the rallies that started from Sunday, Imran said, "Every time a prime minister was ousted, people would celebrate it, but when he was removed from office, the masses registered a protest ."

He reiterated that a "foreign conspiracy" was plotted in Washington with the help of the Opposition parties to overthrow the PTI government in Pakistan.

The former premier said that those who had hatched the conspiracy were very happy that he was ousted from the government. "I was not dangerous when I was part of the government, but I will be more dangerous now."

"We will not accept an imported government and people have shown what they want by holding demonstrations against the move," he said.

Addressing a massive rally he highlighted that the people of Pakistan will not accept Shehbaz Sharif as his Prime Minister as he has corruption cases worth Rs 40,000 crore.

"During my 25 years of politics, I have never provoked the public against state institutions or the judiciary because my life and death is in Pakistan. I ask you, what crime had I exactly committed that you opened up the courts at midnight?" he asked.

"There are 40,000 crore corruption cases against Shehbaz Sharif. Do you think we will accept him as our Prime Minister? and whoever thinks so... would like to tell that it is not that 1970's Pakistan when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was removed with the help of foreign powers. It is a Naya Pakistan," he said further.

Imran Khan had sought to link the opposition's move to oust him through a no-trust vote with "foreign conspiracy" and named the United States in some of his speeches. However, the United States rejected his allegations. Imran Khan also gave calls for people to take to the streets while the joint opposition remained steadfast in its objective of defeating him.

Imran Khan has become the first Prime Minister of Pakistan to lose a no-trust vote in the National Assembly.

Despite several attempts to block the no-confidence motion here in the National Assembly, the voting took place after midnight in which as many as 174 members voted in favour of the motion in the 342-member House while members of the ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were absent.

Notably, no Prime Minister has completed a full five-year tenure in Pakistan so far, according to reports.

Khan said that it is not the Pakistan of the 1970s era but a 'Naya Pakistan' where people have the right to raise their voice through social media.

Speaking at a rally in Peshawar Imran Khan highlighted that the people of Pakistan will not accept Shehbaz Sharif as his Prime Minister as he has corruption cases worth Rs 40,000 crore.

Imran Khan had accused the US of interfering in Pakistan's politics and plotting to oust his regime citing an alleged "threat letter" that was sent to Pakistan, carrying the exchanges between Pakistani diplomats and US officials.

"It is a social media's Pakistan. Today, the country has 6 crore mobile phones, through that the youth raise their voice. Now nobody can shut their mouth," he said addressing a massive crowd today.

Issuing a stern warning to newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif over "the actions he is taking against the social media," Imran Khan said that "the day we raise our voices over it, you will find no place to escape".

Imran Khan's remarks come after Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has arrested a "mastermind" and at least six other members of his network for launching a Twitter trend against the country's Army.

The mastermind was reportedly behind over 2,100 Twitter accounts involved in a social media propaganda campaign against the Army, The News International reported.

Shehbaz Sharif, President of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and former leader of the Opposition, was elected the 23rd Prime Minister of Pakistan by the National Assembly of the country on Monday, a couple of days after former PM Imran Khan's government was voted out of power in a no-confidence motion following a series of dramatic political events.

he United States has congratulated Pakistan's new Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and said it values the relationship between the two countries and is looking forward to continuing the long-standing cooperation, signalling Washington's intent to improve ties with Islamabad under the new regime.

Pakistan's relations with the US have been lukewarm, especially under the Biden administration.

The ties touched a new low after former prime minister Imran Khan, who was ousted last week through a Parliament vote, accused the US of conspiring to dislodge his government.

The US government has bluntly denied the allegations multiple times.

"Pakistan has been an important partner on wide-ranging mutual interests for nearly 75 years and we value our relationship," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement on Wednesday.

"The United States congratulates newly-elected Pakistani Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and we look forward to continuing our long-standing cooperation with Pakistan's government," he said.

Blinken said the US views a strong, prosperous and democratic Pakistan as essential for the interests of both of the countries.

However, President Joe Biden is yet to make a customary call to Prime Minister Sharif, 70, since his appointment on Monday.

Biden had not made any such call to former premier Khan also till his last day in office on Sunday.

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) leader Talal Chaudhry on Wednesday said that former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is expected to return to Pakistan before the elections, reported local media.

The cases filed against Nawaz Sharif were politically motivated and some people were imposed as the rulers by using the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), ARY News quoted PML-N leader Talal Chaudhry as saying during its news programme.

Noting the importance of Nawaz Sharif in the party, Chaudhry claimed that the former Prime Minister will lead the campaign in Pakistan whenever the country goes to the polls.

The PML-N leader said that the fresh elections could not be held within the next five to six months, adding that the delay in polls will increase the burden on the party.

Ensuring that collective decisions will be taken in a coalition government, he said that the decision regarding the fresh elections will be taken after consulting the coalition partners, reported the media outlet.

Earlier on Tuesday, Pakistan premier Shehbaz Sharif had directed the interior ministry to issue a diplomatic passport to Nawaz Sharif.

Pakistan embassy in London was directed to issue diplomatic passports to former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and former Finance Minister Ishaq Dar, reported ARY News.

However, the diplomatic staff said that only Nawaz Sharif could be issued a diplomatic passport, following which, Shehbaz Sharif directed to issue a normal Pakistani passport to Dar.

(With PTI Inputs)

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