In his first public appearance after removal from prime minister’s office, PTI Chairman Imran Khan asked on Wednesday why the doors of the courts were opened late at night on April 9.
The Supreme Court was all set to hear a plea past its notified timing regarding the deadline set for the voting on the no-confidence motion in the National Assembly as former speaker Asad Qaiser did not hold voting on the move till nearly midnight, while the Islamabad High Court also opened to hear another plea.
However, in a turn of events, the speaker resigned and handed over the chair to MNA Ayaz Sadiq, who held the voting on the no-confidence motion as a result of which Imran Khan became the first prime minister to be ousted through the democratic process.
In Peshawar rally on Wednesday night, a charged Imran questioned the opening of courts and told the respected judges that he had gone to jail — during the lawyer’s movement — for an independent judiciary.
“The courts were opened at night. Why? Did I break any laws?” he questioned as he claimed that since joining politics, he has never incited people against institutions.
“I will live and die for Pakistan.”
The PTI chairman also warned that he was not that dangerous while he was part of the government, but now that he has been ousted, he would become “more dangerous” for the opposition.
Imran said that every time a prime minister was ousted, people would celebrate it, but when he was removed from office, the masses registered a protest — referring to the Sunday rallies across the country.
“We will not accept an imported government and people have shown what they want by holding demonstrations against the move,” he said.
The PTI chairman maintained that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz are released on bail, while PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif is an absconder, whose daughter Maryam Nawaz was also released from jail on bail.
“America has insulted Pakistan by imposing them on us; Shehbaz Sharif is facing corruption charges of Rs40 billion,” he added.
“Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sacked through a conspiracy by the USA, but this is not the Pakistan of 1970. This is the new Pakistan.”
Imran repeatedly blamed the US for backing the no-confidence motion and refused to accept the newly elected premier saying “there can’t be any bigger insult to this country”. But the US denied any role in the no-confidence motion against him.
Lashing out at PM Shehbaz, he said: “He (Shehbaz) will not find a place to hide if I ask masses to stage protests.”
The former premier said that those who had hatched the conspiracy were very happy that he was ousted.
Taking a jibe at JUI-F chief Maulana Fazal-ur-Rehman, he said: “For the last 30 years, ‘diesel’ has been selling Islam but I thank Allah that it was me, a sinful person, who went to the United Nations to get a resolution against Islamophobia passed.”
Shedding light on how foreign powers were involved in his ouster, he claimed that it was “India and Israel that celebrated my ouster the most”.
“Pakistan has now become a nation. Whoever thought that an imported government of the US would be accepted by this nation … on Sunday, the entire nation gave their answer that the imported government stands rejected.
Khan said that the “decisive moment” has arrived and the nation needs to choose if it wants slavery or liberty. “Do we want to be the slaves of the US’ slaves or do we want real freedom?”
The former prime minister asked security institutions if the country’s nuclear assets would be safe under the leadership of the Sharifs-led government.
He told the gathering that he would be in Karachi on Saturday and urged them to take to the streets in the entire country.
“My youth, get ready, I will be out on the streets with you in every city until we do not force them to hold elections,” he said.
“Today marks the beginning of the struggle to find actual freedom,” he added.
Prior to Imran taking the stage, his fellow party leaders, including Ali Amin Gandapur, KP Chief Minister Mahmood Khan, Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi, former defence minister Parvez Khattak, Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid and National Assembly Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri addressed the gathering.
MQM in PPP lap: Addressing the rally before Imran, PTI Vice Chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi criticised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi who, following diplomatic protocol, had congratulated Shehbaz Sharif for being elected as prime minister of the country.
“Modi never called Imran Khan but now he has started tweeting to Shehbaz,” said Qureshi. “Imran Khan was right when he had said that one day, all other politicians will stand against him in unison.”
Qureshi said that Bilawal and Fazal-ur-Rehman do not share an ideology, but they have similar vested interests.
He also took a swipe at the MQM-P, which was an ally of the PTI government but had switched sides before the no-confidence motion, and said that for three years, the party leadership opposed the PPP but went ahead and shook hands with them.
“But now, the Khalid Maqbool Siddiqui-led party is sitting in PPP’s lap,” he said.