Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf's (PTI) workers and supporters on Sunday took to the streets in various cities across the country to protest against rising inflation on the call of party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan.
In Karachi, the protest was staged at Shahrah-e-Quaideen. A large number of police officials were deployed on the road leading from Sharea Faisal to Shahrah-e-Quaideen.
Former governor Sindh Imran Ismail and other members of the PTI's local leadership were present.
In Peshawar, the protest was staged in front of the main Hashtnagri Gate as party workers chanted slogans against the government, inflation and loadshedding.
In Lahore, the protestors, which included a number of women, gathered at Liberty Chowk.
Similar protests were also held in Islamabad and the neighbouring Rawalpindi.
Imran's virtual address to supporters
At various protest sites, screens were set up to watch Imran's virtual address, which he delivered a little after 10pm.
In his speech, Imran said he had asked people to take to the streets against inflation "for their own good".
He warned that more price hikes and inflation were in the offing and asked people to amp up their struggle against the "imported government".
The former prime minister recalled that his government had "rolled out subsidies and distributed health cards despite being in the IMF programme".
"This government is in the IMF programme for two months and we remained in it for two and a half years," the PTI chief said as he made the comparison.
Imran said his government had reduced petrol prices by Rs10 at a time when the IMF actually him to jack up fuel prices.
Hitting out at the PML-N-led coalition government, the ex-PM said the "real land mines" were laid by the Nawaz Sharif-led government when it left the power in 2018 with a $20 billion current account deficit.
He said it was the efforts of the PTI government that saw the economy grow by 5.4 per cent and 6pc for two consecutive years.
"It was the effort of our team led by Hammad Azhar, with all institutions on board, including the Pakistan Army, that resulted in Pakistan nearly exiting the FATF's grey list," the former premier said.
He noted that the country plunged into crisis only after a US-sponsored conspiracy was hatched with "our local Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq" as central characters.
"I also approached the neutrals and appreciated their stance of being neutral, but at the same time, I apprised them of the economic repercussions of the foreign plan. The moment I had conveyed the concerns was the right time to foil the conspiracy," the PTI chief said.
Imran said he was "thankful" to Minister for Power Khurram Dastgir for allegedly admitting during a TV interview that "Shehbaz and other leaders would have been in jail, had Imran remained in power".
The former PM said the statement of PPP Senator Saleem Mandviwala — wherein he commented on the potential of Pakistan having diplomatic ties was Israel — was also a "part of the same agenda" that toppled his government.
The PTI chairman asked people to get ready for his "call" and said his struggle against the government would continue until it announced "free and fair elections".
Imran had on Thursday urged the public to stage a "peaceful demonstration" tonight at 9pm against rising inflation, which he said has been the doing of a government "incapable of handling the economy".
In a recorded video message, Imran had warned that inflation would soar even higher in days to come if the nation "kept sitting idly".
"I am inviting the entire nation for a peaceful protest against inflation. I invite trade unions, professionals, doctors, engineers, clerks, and government workers to take to the streets," appealed the ex-PM.