On the eve of crucial no-trust vote, PM Imran urges youth to stage 'peaceful protests'

Published April 2, 2022
Prime Minister Imran Khan pictured during a live Q&A session with the people of Pakistan. — Photo: Imran Khan Instagram
Prime Minister Imran Khan pictured during a live Q&A session with the people of Pakistan. — Photo: Imran Khan Instagram

Prime Minister Imran Khan on Saturday urged the country's youth to stage "peaceful protests" against a "foreign conspiracy" allegedly hatched against his government and said that he has "more than one plan" for tomorrow's crucial vote on the no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.

The prime minister made these remarks during a live question and answer session, which began a little before 5:30pm, was broadcast live on television, radio and digital media, and lasted roughly an hour.

"Before taking your telephone calls, I want to talk to the people of my country for five minutes because right now Pakistan is standing on a decisive point," the prime minister said in his opening remarks. "This is a war for the future of the country.

"There are two routes we can take. Do we want to take the way of destruction or a path of pride? There will be difficulties in this path but this is the path of our Prophet PBUH. This path is for our good. This path brought a revolution in the country."

The prime minister then discussed the political crisis in the country: "The politics of Pakistan has reached a point today where the nation has to decide where you want to take the country today. A society that stands with honesty and justice takes a new life. But when a society becomes neutral, it begins supporting the bad.

"There's a conspiracy against the government right now and it has been proven that politicians are being bought like goats to topple the government. The conspiracy started abroad and here Mir Sadiqs are helping these people abroad.

"The history never forgets those. And I want Pakistan's history to not forget these traitors either. It is your responsibility. Don't let them feel that you have forgotten."

The prime minister said he will take legal action against those who "betrayed the nation". "I met my lawyers today and we have a plan. We wont let them go free. All of them will be punished. We will decide by tonight the kind of legal action we want to take against them."

'Come out and stage peaceful protests,' PM tells youth

The prime minister claimed that the "foreign conspiracy" against him has been proven. "The cabinet, NSC and the parliament's security committee have seen it. The official document says that if you remove Imran Khan, your relations with the US will get better."

Addressing the youth of the country, PM Imran said: "You don't have to sit silently [because] if you stay quiet, you will be on the side of the bad. I want you to protest and speak up against this conspiracy —not for me but for your future.

"In the UK, when they used weapons of mass destruction illegally and attacked Iraq, two million people protested. it wasn't violent. Not a single pot was broken. I walked with them. No political party urged them. They did it themselves. This is the sign of a nation that is alive.

"I want you to come out and protest today and tomorrow. Come out for peaceful protests."

'I want you to not criticise the army'

When asked what he would say to those criticising the Army, the prime minister said: "Please remember that there are two things that have kept the country united today. First is the army of Pakistan. It's a strong and professional army. It is important for the country because a lot of countries are trying to harm Pakistan.

"Second is the PTI because it's a party that has kept the country connected. Initially, it was the PPP but right now the PTI is the party that represents the country and is considered a national party. These people are trying to weaken the party.

"We need this army. It has sacrificed for us. I want you to not criticise the army."

When asked by a caller to comment on the "fake news" of him not getting along with the army, he said: "I want to tell you something about the army. Whoever attacks the army, they aren't hurting the army but [are hurting] Pakistan.

"This country needs a strong army because [look at what's happening in] the Muslim world. What happened in Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan? We are safe because we have a strong army. We shouldn't do anything that harms the army.

"I have no differences with the army. They took a decision and we respect it. The army decided to stay neutral and we respect it."

The prime minister claimed that the political crisis created against him was a result of him wanting to devise an independent foreign policy for the Pakistan, which he said was previously attempted only once.

"Except under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, our country has never had an independent foreign policy. And then too, Mir Jaffers such as Fazlur Rehman and Nawaz Sharif had got him killed by conspiring with the foreign powers."

Despite the opposition seemingly having accumulated enough MNAs to topple his government, PM Imran remained buoyant, saying: "Don't worry at all. A captain always has a plan, and this time I have more than one plan... god willing we will win tomorrow. I will defeat them in the Assembly.

"The nation will see tomorrow ... if they cast the vote tomorrow, they know they will be rejected by the public. You will see that we will win tomorrow."

Today's Q&A session came at a crucial time when the premier is facing a no-confidence motion from the opposition parties. The resolution was tabled in the National Assembly last month and voting on it is expected to take place tomorrow.

Read: PM unveils ‘foreign plot’ against his govt

PM Imran alleges that the motion is a "foreign conspiracy" to oust him and claims that he has a "letter" as evidence.

During his address to the nation on Thursday, in what appeared to be a slip of tongue, the prime minister named the US as the country that is reportedly behind the letter.

"On March 8, or probably before that on March 7, we received a message from the US ... no, not the US, what I mean to say is from some other foreign country," he said, adding that the message was not just against the prime minister (referring to himself) but "our nation".

The prime minister claimed that the country behind the letter knew of an impending no-trust vote against him before it was filed by the opposition in the National Assembly.

"So this means that they (the opposition) were in contact with people abroad before all this happened," he said. "And the interesting part is that the [conspiracy detailed in the document] is not against Pakistan's leadership or government, but only against Imran Khan."

The premier said the country behind the letter had the stance that they were "angry with Pakistan" and that it "will forgive Pakistan if Imran Khan loses this no-trust" vote contest.

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