Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has said that he will accept any decision taken by the Supreme Court if it launches a probe into rigging allegations - closely mirroring what Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif said minutes later in an address to the nation.
In an interview aired Tuesday by a private TV channel ahead of his ‘Azadi’ march, Imran said he has full confidence in the Chief Justice of Pakistan Nasir-ul-Mulk.
“The Supreme Court should constitute a board with CJP Mulk [as the head]. I trust him completely and will accept any decision [that is given by him],” Imran said.
Imran said an inquiry must be launched into the rigging allegations, and that he will be satisfied when those involved are tried in court.
When asked who would be part of the caretaker set-up in the situation that Nawaz Sharif steps down, Imran said. “It will have no politicians, only technocrats because if government members are part of the caretaker set-up there will be a conflict of interest.”
He also said that the Election Commission of Pakistan must resign.
Message to Nawaz: No giving up
The PTI chief expressed bewilderment at the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) government’s efforts to talk him out of his planned protest.
“Am I some petulant child that who needs mollycoddling? This is about Pakistan’s future. They can’t fall at my feet and ask for forgiveness if they have stolen votes. This is not my personal issue, it’s a matter of concern for the whole country,” he said.
He asked why the government did not give in to his demand of a recount on four key constituencies/ “Why are you scared of reelection?” he asked, referring to Nawaz Sharif.
He said that if he was serving personal interests, he would have sat back and enjoyed his government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and appointed his relatives to officials, “just like the PML-N did for five years.”
‘Martial law will be government’s fault’
In a stern warning to the government, the PTI chief said his supporters should not be stopped from what he vows will be a peaceful protest.
“If they are stopped, there will be fighting. If the police stop them there will be destruction and if as a result of this a martial law is imposed then that is the government’s fault,” he said.
A separate protest, led by opposition politician Imran Khan, is planned for the capital on Thursday to protest alleged election irregularities. Khan has also called for the government to go.
The planned demonstrations have unnerved Sharif's fledgling civilian government. The Punjab government has blocked roads in Model Town that lead to the Minhajul Quran secretariat.
Some members of the ruling party fear the protesters may be getting support from elements in the powerful military, which has had a series of disagreements with the government. The military denies meddling in politics.