Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that only Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif will be responsible if a 'third power' steps in as a result of the PTI's November 2 lockdown of Islamabad. The party has said the upcoming protest is for the premier's 'resignation or accountability' following Panamagate.
Speaking to journalists on Sunday in Islamabad, the PTI chief said, in a reference to Nawaz Sharif, that only "one person will be responsible if democracy is derailed."
He did not mention which force or institution would be derailing democracy following the protest but clarified that, "We [PTI] are not doing this to bring in a 'third power'."
"Why is a protest happening? Nawaz Sharif isn't presenting himself for accountability," he added.
"Protest is the PTI's democratic right. The government will have to bear a severe loss if it tries to stop us."
Speaking further, Imran Khan accused the government of defaming the Army.
Pakistan's 'royal family' behind high-level 'security breach'
The PTI chief alleged that the premier's daughter Maryam Nawaz's media cell was involved in a 'leak' of information from a recent high-level meeting on national security.
"Maryam Nawaz's media cell is involved in this, there is no doubt about that. And that is why the investigation is not progressing. This was a very large security breach," he alleged.
"It is very easy to find out who was behind it. But if the person's name hasn't come out, then it is evident that Pakistan's 'royal family' was behind it," he claimed.
PML-N, PTI in search of allies
The PML-N and PTI have both been searching for allies in the PPP and the PML-Q respectively.
Railways Minister Khawaja Saad Rafique on Saturday contacted Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah by telephone, whereas PTI's Shah Mahmood Qureshi contacted Pakistan Muslim-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi. Qureshi said, however, that he had not extended Chaudhry an invitation in connection to the Islamabad sit-in.
PTI's plan B
The PTI has also prepared a strategy to tackle the sit-in and any possible crackdown against the party.
PTI workers will gather at Faizabad and march towards Zero Point under Mr Khan’s leadership. “Blocking Zero Point will render Kashmir Highway, I.J. Principal Road, Murree Road and Islamabad Expressway closed and the federal capital will be in lockdown,” a senior official told Dawn.
“Party leaders are of the view that the government will close the roads themselves, helping the party’s plan to besiege Islamabad,” he said.
If PTI workers are arrested ahead of the lockdown of the capital city, the party plans to lay siege to the police station where they will be held.
PTI leadership has also directed party workers to avoid arrest and "if anyone arrested, then more than 200 workers will immediately reach that police station."
PTI, PML-N back-and-forth
Earlier this week, PM Nawaz heavily criticised the PTI, saying the party's leaders are only found on containers.
"Forget about Pakistan, the PTI will have washed their hands of KP by 2018," he said, adding that the province would be ruled by the PML-N after the next general election.
Imran Khan responded to the premier's statements, demanding a response to accusations of corruption levelled against Nawaz and his family after Panamagate.
"2018 is far away," he said. "Nawaz has to answer now on the Panama leaks."
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif also thundered at the PTI, terming the party "enemies of progress".
He vowed "their [PTI's] filthy designs will be unsuccessful".
The apex court is to hear petitions on Panamagate on Nov 1. The hearing had earlier been adjourned for two weeks, but the Supreme Court changed the date on Friday, set off a debate on the significance of the hearing a day ahead of the planned siege of the city.