ISLAMABAD: Expressing his disappointment on the Supreme Court’s decision that revived the no-confidence motion against him, Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a last-ditch call to the nation’s youth to take to the streets on Sunday night against what he termed an “imported government”, which may come into existence over the next few days.

The prime minister, who looked less confident on Friday than his previous addresses to the nation, termed the apex court’s April 7 decision another concessional National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) for opposition leaders who are facing corruption references.

In his nearly 30-minute long speech, the PM tried to convey the impression that he was being ousted before his five-year term for his struggle to ensure an independent foreign policy.

“I am disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision… history never forgets which Supreme Court decision was right or wrong,” the prime minister said.

“Democracy cannot be safeguarded by the army and from outside… It is the nation which always protects the sovereignty of the country,” the prime minister said, calling on the people to protest peacefully against the government which is likely to be formed if the no-confidence resolution against him is passed by the National Assembly today (Saturday).

Unlike his past appearances before the nation, where he appeared more boisterous, the prime minister on Friday night paused for a few seconds before starting his speech.

“I am saddened by the verdict, but I accept it,” he said, adding that it was disappointing how the Supreme Court did not think it appropriate to even see the “threat letter” which was the basis for the deputy speaker’s ruling of April 3.

“I wanted the SC to at least look at it. It was a very serious allegation that a foreign country wants to topple the government through a conspiracy,” he added.

Mr Khan said he was also saddened at the haste with which the court made its decision and ignored open horse-trading and the buying and selling of lawmakers’ conscience.

“Every child knows the price at which consciences are being sold… what kind of democracy is this? Which democracy in the world allows [horse-trading]? And the biggest forum for justice, the judiciary, we expected it to take suo motu action, if nothing else,” he added.

However, he was adamant that it was a particular foreign country that did not want to see a leader like him in power in Pakistan which had tried to oust him with the help of corrupt politicians.

Recounting the context of the threat letter, the PM said that Pakistan’s ambassador in the US was called for a meeting with a US official, who threatened that if the no-confidence motion is unsuccessful, Pakistan would have to face consequences.

One of his party leaders, Shandana, was called to the US Embassy where she was told that a no-confidence motion will be moved against Imran Khan, he added.

He claimed that he was the only leader in the country who staged demonstrations against US drone attacks in tribal areas of Pakistan and in Afghanistan. “I was the one who opposed US invasion in Iraq and Pakistan’s involvement in war on terror,” he added.

The prime minister also appeared to be hinting at life after being voted out when he said: “I will never sit idle and I will be on streets with a new struggle against this “imported government,” he added.

Opposition reaction

Commenting on the PM’s address, Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif said in a statement that in his speech, Imran Khan had predicted the success of the no-confidence move against him.

He once again refuted the prime minister’s claim about the ‘threat letter’ from the US and challenged him to make it public. He said the SC had scrapped the ruling of the deputy speaker after examining all evidence and accused Mr Khan of attacking parliament, the Constitution and the judiciary to save his government.

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari asked why the government did not produce the threat letter before the Supreme Court during the hearing when the opposition parties had asked for it to be laid before the court.

The PPP chairman said the prime minister had been lying for the past three years and had told another lie in his latest speech. He claimed they had defeated the PTI in parliament and in court, and soon they would defeat them at the polls.

Published in Dawn, April 9th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Budget and politics
Updated 14 Jun, 2024

Budget and politics

PML-N, scared of taking bold steps lest it loses whatever little public support it has, has left its traditional support — traders — virtually untouched.
New talks?
14 Jun, 2024

New talks?

WILL this prove another false start, or may we expect a more sincere effort this time? Reference is made to the...
A non-starter
14 Jun, 2024

A non-starter

WHILE the UN Security Council had earlier this week adopted a US-backed resolution calling for a ceasefire in Gaza...
Budget for stabilisation
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Budget for stabilisation

The proposed steps lack any “disruptive policy changes", especially to "right-size" the govt, and doubts remain on authorities' ability to enforce new measures.
State of the economy
13 Jun, 2024

State of the economy

THE current fiscal year is but another year lost. Going by the new Pakistan Economic Survey, which maps the state of...
Unyielding onslaught
Updated 13 Jun, 2024

Unyielding onslaught

SEVEN soldiers paid the ultimate price in Lakki Marwat on Sunday when their vehicle was blown up in an IED attack,...