Imran aims at three wickets with one ball in protest drive

PTI chief says new launch date will be given when party is ‘fully prepared’

For reasons unknown, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Imran Khan missed the deadline for the launch of his ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’ (real freedom) movement, which was supposed to begin yesterday (September 24), as per his announcement last Wednesday.

Instead, addressing his party’s power show in Punjab’s Rahim Yar Khan district on Saturday, the former premier said his movement for “real freedom” against the coalition government would not stop until the announcement of early and transparent elections.

“You remain prepared, I will give you a [protest] call when my opponents believe that Imran Khan has given up and that day is not far,” he said.

“I will give the call when I believe I can take three wickets in one ball… I am monitoring the preparations of our activists and I will give call the day I believe we are fully prepared.”

Imran said that his much-hyped call for next protest against the coalition government would be the last, and added that after that call he would not stage any protest or hold long march.

“That call will be given to save Pakistan through free and transparent elections. We don’t have any way other than the elections to save the country.”

Without political stability and stable government, the country’s economic woes could not be addressed, said Imran, adding that only free and transparent elections could bring stability to the economy and the country.

Responding to Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah’s warning against marching on Islamabad, Imran said it was his party’s democratic right to stage a peaceful protest. “This person (Rana Sanaullah) who should be in jail is lecturing us on democracy.”

Addressing Sanaullah, he said his party leaders and supporters would come with ‘full planning’ this time around.

“Everyone knows what Rana Sanaullah will do but no one knows what I will do,” he said, referring to violence his party workers were subjected to during their short-lived long march in May.

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Imran said the premier and his delegation were staying at expensive hotels to show-off to those from whom PM was asking for donations for flood victims. He said the country would have to compromise its national interest by receiving foreign aid, as “there is no free lunch”.

He said Shehbaz was imposed upon the country not because he had any leadership qualities but because he would take dictation from all powers, including the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

He said the country had no future if such corrupt leaders, including Shehbaz and his son, who were set to be indicted in a money laundering case, continued to rule.

Separately, the PTI chief said that no matter how much his opponents tried, a “minus-one” formula to knock him out of the political contest would not work. Talking to a private news channel, Imran said his opponents were looking for a “technical knockout” to somehow sideline him since “they know they can’t face me in a match.”

Earlier, talking to journalists, Imran said his party MNAs would return to the National Assembly if the government decided to investigate the cipher from Pakistan’s ambassador in Washington, allegedly containing comments regarding the vote of no-confidence against him. He also spoke of his party’s relations with the establishment.

“The PTI had good relations with the establishment. I don’t know how and when they worsened,” he said. “The government needs to have better relations with the establishment than the opposition,” he said, adding, “How can we have links with the establishment while being in the opposition?” He said the establishment in Pakistan was a reality and it “has all the powers”.

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