Imran Khan slams the idea that his party's popularity is rising due to the Army

July 23, 2018

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Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice), speaks to supporters during a campaign rally ahead of the general election in Karachi on July 22, 2018. —AFP
Pakistani cricketer turned politician Imran Khan of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (Movement for Justice), speaks to supporters during a campaign rally ahead of the general election in Karachi on July 22, 2018. —AFP
Supporters listen to Khan's address. —AFP
Supporters listen to Khan's address. —AFP
Supporters of Imran Khan attend an election campaign rally by PTI ahead of the general election in Karachi. —AFP
Supporters of Imran Khan attend an election campaign rally by PTI ahead of the general election in Karachi. —AFP

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan on Sunday addressed a mammoth rally at Karachi's Bagh-e-Jinnah, where the Quaid's mausoleum is located, three days ahead of countrywide elections.

After his usual song-and-dance of achievements his government in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa can be credited for, and the sad state of economic affairs in the country, he jumped on to address the "very big conspiracy" that his party is being shoved into.

"The Indian media and the parties who are no rigging experts by any means have begun to talk up a storm on the subject. They are saying that the army is rigging the elections.

"They are saying that the Tehreek-i-Insaf is rising in popularity due to the army's favour. Tell me this, have you all been called by the army here today?" the PTI chief asked the crowd.

"Are all the opinion polls which show our party's success also [engineered] by the army?"

Khan then reminded Karachiites that it's not as if he never criticises the armed forces, saying: "I have called out the army on several occasions. When I said they should not be sent to Waziristan I was labelled 'Taliban Khan'."

He claimed that the foreign establishment wants India to balance the rising influence of China in the region. For this reason, their efforts are geared to remove Pakistan's army from the equation by maligning it, he added.

"When the PTM [Pashtun Tahaffuz Movement] raised their voices for the people of their region, they were picked up because they were criticising the army. Earlier, they were having the army 'do more'. Now that the army is 'not doing more' they are out to blacken its name," he said.

He called attention to the fact that it was the army that liberated Karachi from the grip of terror it was in not long ago.

"If the Rangers had not been deployed and carried out the operations they did, could your lives have been as safe as they are today?" he reasoned with the crowd.

"This conspiracy against the army is against the country. You have before you the examples of all such countries which had no army to defend themselves. Look at the state they are in today."

He said the nation should be grateful for the army otherwise "the country would have been divided into four parts".