Imran Khan calls for `civil disobedience movement` to oust Pak PM Nawaz Sharif
Pakistan`s opposition leader Imran Khan on Sunday declared a "civil disobedience movement" against the Nawaz Sharif-led government, saying the country`s future is bleak under the rule of businessmen, as cleric Tahirul Qadri gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the embattled Prime Minister to resign.
Islamabad: Pakistan`s opposition leader Imran Khan on Sunday declared a "civil disobedience movement" against the Nawaz Sharif-led government, saying the country`s future is bleak under the rule of businessmen, as cleric Tahirul Qadri gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the embattled Prime Minister to resign.
"I have called for the civil disobedience movement for you, not for myself. We will not pay taxes, electricity or gas bills," Khan told his supporters while giving a speech which he described as the most important of his political career.
"I thought that if this rally heads towards the Prime Minister House then they will clash with the police," and they (the police) will get killed which "I don`t want", he said on the second day of his sit-in here.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief asserted that under the rule of "these businessmen who only want to make money for themselves, Pakistan`s future is bleak."
Khan`s remarks were directed at Sharif, one of the country`s wealthiest person and the owner of Ittefaq Group.
"There is only one way now, we will kick off a civil disobedience campaign," Khan said to raucous applause from thousands of his supporters, who have traveled from Lahore in his `Azadi March` aimed at ousting Prime Minister Sharif who won a landslide victory in the general election last year.
In the polls, Sharif`s PML-N had won 190 out of 342 seats. Khan`s PTI got 34 seats, the third largest bloc in the legislature. Khan claimed that his party should have won many more seats but for the vote-rigging by Sharif`s PML-N.
The PTI chief said he will not be able to hold back his supporters if his demands are not met within two days.
He urged the crowd not to move ahead, because he has promised Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar that he and his supporters will not cross into the "Red Zone" where the Parliament, the President and the Prime Minister`s residences and embassies are located.
"Whoever tried to hold Nawaz accountable, he bought them off. Nawaz bought judges, the election commission last year and he tried buying off generals," Khan alleged.
The cricketer-turned-politician, at the start of his speech, said, "I assure you that when I finish my speech, and if you do what I ask you to, then no one can stop a `naya` Pakistan from being made."
Undeterred by inclement weather and low turnouts, supporters of Khan and the Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) headed by Qadri continued their protests for a fourth day running.
Earlier, stick wielding PTI protesters hit containers and removed barbed wire blocking their way to the "Red Zone".
Qadri, who is calling for the arrest of Sharif and his brother Shahbaz for the killing of his 14 supporters in Lahore on June 17, has given a 48-hour ultimatum to the embattled Prime Minister to resign.
Qadri has presented a list of 14 demands in which he has
asked for the resignation of Sharif and the dissolving of (provincial) assemblies "within 48 hours".
Meanwhile, Khan said Sharif should not waste his time by sending people to negotiate with him.
"We will celebrate independence for two days over here," he told the crowd, announcing the 48-hour deadline for remaining peaceful.
Khan said he can order his supporters to invade the "Red Zone" and drag out Sharif from his official house but he will not do so as it may result in bloodshed and killing of innocent security personnel.
Both Khan and Qadri have so far stood firm on the one demand that remains off the negotiating table with the PML-N led government -- that Prime Minister Sharif step down to make way for a new government.
Khan, who led Pakistan to the World Cup victory in 1992, said earlier that a final match would be played today and it will be a decisive day in the history of Pakistan.
"Ppl know NS (Sharif) along with ROs (Returning Officers) & caretakers were all involved in 2013 electoral match fixing. They will not accept it," he tweeted.
"Nawaz Sharif should resign as ppl have given their verdict on fraudulent elections by coming out in huge nos 4 PTI Tsunami," he said.
"With fraudulent mandate, NS has expanded family business, increased debt burden on nation & lived like an oil sheikh on taxpayer money," the leader said in a tweet.
Both Khan and Pakistan Awami Tehreek chief Qadri are camping at different venues in the capital.
They started separate rallies from Lahore on Thursday and reached in the national capital yesterday.
The political instability comes at a time when Pakistan is waging a war against militants -- particularly in the restive tribal regions along its border with Afghanistan.
Pakistan Supreme Court had on Friday issued an order against any unconstitutional step to remove the civilian government as protests threatened to remove government which sparked fears of a possible military intervention in the coup-prone country.
The Army which has already been handed over the security of capital for three months, has a history of capturing power from democratically elected governments.
In its 67-year history, Pakistan has witnessed three coups, including one against Sharif in 1999 by the then army chief General Parvez Musharraf.