BAHAWALNAGAR: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed efforts were afoot — by the characters he refers to as Mr X and Y — to topple the PTI-PML-Q coalition government in Punjab by making lawmakers switch loyalties in exchange for “huge sums” of money.

Addressing a large gathering at the Chishtian Municipal Stadium, the former premier claimed “Mr X has been joined by Mr Y and they are trying their best to topple the Punjab government”. He alleged that both the characters were offering huge sums to PTI MPAs to switch their loyalties and those who were resisting the offers were being threatened. He also claimed the media was being instructed not to cover his party.

Mr Khan also referred to what he called a purported video statement of a PML-N leader that a vote of no-confidence could not be successful without the help of the establishment. Therefore, he said, according to PML-N leaders, if a vote of no-confidence was successful in Punjab, the establishment would be behind it.

Once again attempting to clarify his controversial remarks about the appointment of the next army chief, he claimed a narrative was being built that he was against the army, however the reality was to the contrary. He added that his criticism of the army was always constructive and in a positive sense unlike the “propaganda unlea­sh­­ed by the imported government” in their pre­­­­vious tenures against the army and the judiciary.

Claims Mr X, Y offering money to PTI MPAs to buy loyalties, those refusing being threatened

Furthermore, the PTI chief lashed out at the ruling coalition, saying two (political) families were responsible for the current economic situation of the country, as they looted it with both hands. He called the election commission the government’s “pet”, alleging all of them were trying to bring him down. He also referred to the money laundering cases against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza, saying: “These people were imposed on us by internal and external traitors.”

The PTI chief then thanked the participants of the public gathering for attending the event in the harsh weather.

Seeks lawyers support

Earlier, speaking at a lawyers convention held at a private marriage hall in Chishtian, Mr Khan said the struggle for true freedom was not possible without the lawyers community, adding he needed their support to establish the supremacy of rule of law in Pakistan.

Alluding to his remark about the army chief’s appointment, Mr Khan said: “I am asking how thieves can appoint the army chief.”

He then said selling votes was, in fact, selling of conscience, adding deviating from the right path was a “great sin”. He claimed all the thieves (referring to the ruling coalition leaders) were trying to send him to jail, saying he would fight the system and those who enforced it, and not back off.

At the end of the ceremony, Mr Khan promised to speak to the Punjab government for the establishment of a judicial complex and hostel at the divisional headquarters.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2022

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