Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday invited the nation to participate in the PTI's March 27 power show at Islamabad's Parade Ground, calling on the people to join him in "standing against evil".
In the recorded message, the prime minister began by quoting a verse from the Holy Quran. He noted that Muslims had been told to "stand with good and against evil".
"Brazenly, in front of everyone, a gang of thieves has been looting the country for the past 30 years, indulging in corruption and sending money abroad."
He said that this "gang" had united and put a price on the "conscience" of public representatives, adding that these public representatives "were being bought".
"I want the entire nation to join me on March 27 to send one message: that we are not with evil, we are against it. That we are against the crime[s] being committed against democracy and the nation, where the conscience of public representatives is being bought with looted money."
The whole country should know that no one can participate in horse-trading from now on in an effort to damage Pakistan and democracy, he said.
The premier's message comes as the government is facing a no-confidence motion moved by the opposition. National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser has summoned the session of the lower house to deliberate on the opposition's no-confidence resolution against PM Imran on March 25 (tomorrow) at 11am.
On Wednesday, the prime minister was informed that the party's allies had decided to side with the opposition, causing the ruling PTI to gear up efforts to appease its annoyed coalition partners.
A government source told Dawn that PM Imran was apprised in the PTI’s Political Committee meeting that their allies had decided to join the opposition camp and vote against him on the no-trust motion.
On this, the premier dispatched senior PTI leaders to meet the heads of allied parties and assure them that their reservations would be addressed. He hoped the allies would return to the government and support him in the National Assembly on the voting day.
When contacted, Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry claimed the next 48 hours were “quite crucial” when the political ambiguity would be cleared. He hoped that allies will not leave the prime minister’s side in this hour of need.
Confident PM says ‘will have last laugh'
Meanwhile, a confident PM Imran predicted he would prevail over the opposition’s no-confidence move and definitely would have the last laugh, announcing that he still held a "trump card" that would be revealed at the right time.
“Let me predict in clear terms that we will succeed in the no-confidence motion because the entire party and our workers are standing with us like a rock and even the debate raging on the menace of corruption and horse-trading has become a topic of household discussion,” the premier said while talking to a group of reporters at his office at the picturesque Prime Minister House on Wednesday.
Why PPP chairperson and then prime minister Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, despite having at least 33 per cent vote bank in national politics, was removed in 1996, he questioned before asserting that it was because the “people were not with her” at that crucial time.
With the PTI, however, it was an altogether different story, as its workers firmly stood with their leaders. Rather, more and more people were joining the party ranks, the premier said, adding that no ‘political animal’ could withstand such public opinion.
Attired in a traditional white shalwar suit with red rosary in his right hand, the premier recalled how the 1992 Pakistani cricket team, despite being the weakest, managed to clinch the world cup just because its captain was confident about victory from the very beginning. He said the opposition, under intense pressure, had exposed all their cards ahead of time, but nobody was aware what the government had in store for them.
The prime minister acknowledged that ruling party lawmakers were “openly being lured in” or “threatened” to desert the PTI-led government, but without elaborating upon his ‘trump card’, he said he had many options that would be made public a day or two before the voting.
He said the ever-rising tide of public opinion in his favour would scale up further on March 27 when the PTI government would stage the biggest-ever public rally in Islamabad. He said the government’s allies were also closely gauging the tide. He warned all lawmakers that it would be very difficult to face the public wrath, whosoever would go against the government.