LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan said his party members were being asked to part ways with him and were being coerced into believing that he had been marked with a “red line” and had no political future, and vowed to erase all such barriers with the help of his supporters.
The former prime minister once again accused the establishment of meddling in politics and alleged that PTI lawmakers were being forced to switch loyalties ahead of a trust vote faced by Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi.
In a speech to members of the Punjab parliamentary party, Mr Khan said that those who wanted to write him off were “arrogant” and without political acumen.
Mr Khan challenged the establishment that the political engineering purportedly underway to damage PTI would be “swept away by the sea of people” who would take to the streets as happened on April 10 — after his removal through a vote of no confidence.
He said people had shattered plans of powers-that-be by voting for PTI, which resulted in its victory in July and October by-polls.
Alleges establishment coercing PTI members to switch sides; slams Centre for placing Elahi’s family on no-fly list
“The PTI is sacrificing its two assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and expects that elections be held in both provinces within a stipulated time frame,” Mr Khan hoped.
He added that his party would come to power and take “strong decisions” for the sake of the country.
Speaking about the Punjab Assembly, Mr Khan said he was monitoring PTI’s Punjab legislators whose support was crucial to retain Mr Elahi the chief executive. Stating that the victory target was not far away, Mr Khan welcomed independent MPA Bilal Warraich who joined the PTI.
Earlier in the day, Mr Khan met with CM Parvez Elahi and Hussain Elahi at his residence to discuss the impending vote of confidence in the Punjab Assembly.
Mr Khan also slammed the Centre for placing Mr Elahi’s family members on the no-fly list.
Chiding the powers-that-be for forcing people to accept the ‘regime change’ rulers and intimidating them through torture and pressure, Mr Khan asserted, “We will sign the country’s death warrant if we accepted the cabal of corrupt rulers”.
He said the PDM government was now left with only one option i.e. to go to the IMF and take relief in exchange for hyperinflation.
He also took a potshot at ex-president Asif Zardari for attempts to buy the loyalties of PTI MPAs ahead of the vote of confidence. He, however, thanked Mr Zardari for buying “rotten eggs” (20 turncoats) and making his party clean.
Lambasting the PDM government for ruining the running economy, he said even Indian PM Narendra Modi was making fun of Pakistani government. He also questioned the logic behind taking a large delegation to Geneva.
Published in Dawn, January 12th, 2023