• Ex-PM claims Nawaz ‘not allowing’ Shehbaz to call elections
• Imran looks to CJP for help, says nation has ‘lost confidence in other state institutions’

LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday said he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power.

The remarks came as a surprise because ever since his removal from office through a vote of no confidence, the PTI leader has continuously campaigned on the slogan that a foreign conspiracy led to his ouster, and that the US administration was behind it.

Separately, the former prime minister claimed that PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif was pushing the country towards disaster by “not allowing” Prime Minis­ter Shehbaz Sharif to hold transparent elections in the country.

Addressing multiple gatherings of party supporters via video link from his residence in Lahore, Mr Khan trained his guns at the elder Sharif and said the latter was not going to the polls because he was afraid of defeat at the hands of PTI.

“It is a matter of grave concern for the whole Pakistani nation that a person convicted by the Supreme Court is poised to take decisions about the future of Pakistan that includes the appointment of a new army chief,” he added.

“Those installed through the ‘regime change conspiracy’ are running away from holding elections, knowing that they will lose [elections] against me and will not be able to save their corruption and looted money,” he claimed.

According to Mr Khan, the ‘regime change experiment’ had failed but the “handlers and facilitators” were still not accepting their mistake. He alleged that the incumbent rulers never “appointed any top official on merit to ensure that their looted money should be given protection at all costs”.

Claiming that his ouster had sent the ‘booming’ economy into a tailspin, the PTI chairman said the Sharifs had “no remorse because they are busy getting themselves acquitted through tailor-made legislation”. He also chided the PDM government for accusing him of isolating Pakistan at the international level and asserted that the government should explain to the nation what it did in this direction during the past seven months.

‘Govt should be thankful’

Furthermore, Imran Khan said the incumbent ‘illegitimate’ government should be thankful that he was “channelising the public wrath by holding the long march within the parameters of law”.

“The nation is vociferously telling the powers that be and the handlers that it…want(s) snap elections for a people-mandated government,” he said.

Mr Khan reiterated that when the PTI march will reach Rawalpindi, he will be present in the garrison city to welcome the “sea of people coming from the width and breadth of the country”.

The PTI chairman yet again urged the chief justice of Pakistan to stand with the nation and assert his judicial powers to bring the powerful under the law and constitution. “The nation has lost faith in all other state institutions,” he claimed.

Lamenting that despite being a former prime minister and head of the largest political party he was unable to get an FIR registered for an assassination attempt on him, Mr Khan said how can someone get justice in this country if it was not possible for the former premier. “It is my right to nominate three accused in the FIR and courts should investigate whether my allegations are right or wrong,” he added.

‘US-backed conspiracy’

Separately, Imran Khan, who has repeatedly claimed a US-backed conspiracy behind his ouster in April this year, said he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power. He said he wanted a “dignified” relationship between Washington and Islamabad.

The PTI chairman made these remarks during an interview with a British newspaper, Financial Times.

“As far as I’m concerned it is over, it’s behind me,” the newspaper quoted Mr Khan’s comments on the US’s role in the alleged conspiracy.

“Our relationship with the US has been as of a master-servant relationship, or a master-slave relationship, and we’ve been used like a hired gun. But for that I blame my own governments more than the US,” the former premier added.

The PTI chairman also termed his visit to Moscow on the eve of the invasion of Ukraine by Russia as “embarrassing”. He, however, added that trip was organised months in advance.

About the role of the military, he said the army could play a “constructive role” in his future plans for Pakistan.

The former premier asserted that there should “be a balance” between the civil-military ties as “you cannot have an elected government which has the responsibility given by the people, while the authority lies somewhere else”.

This is not the first time the PTI chairman has made such remarks. Last month, he admitted to being a powerless prime minister and said “despite being at the helm of affairs, orders were coming from somewhere else”.

Published in Dawn, November 14th, 2022



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