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Imran targets US, judges, opposition at Peshawar rally

Imran Khan says masses don't need any apology from US

Former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday night made it clear that he would not surrender to anyone and reiterated that his government was removed through a foreign conspiracy.

Addressing a mammoth public gathering in Peshawar – the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s (PTI) first mass contact campaign since his ouster – Imran and the people coming out in the streets on his call gave a strong message to opponents and the world that Pakistan and Pakistanis were not slaves to any international power.

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Talking about the new coalition government, the PTI chief maintained that he would not accept “this imported government” because it had been established on the basis of a conspiracy. “Whenever a prime minister of Pakistan was removed, people used to distribute sweets. But I am thankful to God that I was removed and you all came and gave me such respect,” he said while addressing the charged crowd.

“Pakistan has now become a nation. Whoever thought that an imported government of the US would be accepted by this nation … on Sunday, the entire nation gave their answer that the imported government stands rejected.”

He said that the “imported government” currently in charge was full of individuals out on bail. “Shehbaz Sharif is out on bail, his son is out on bail, [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo] Nawaz Sharif is a convict, and his son is an absconder in London, and the same is the case with his sons, daughter and son-in-law.”

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He said the Americans had “disrespected” Pakistan by “imposing outlaws” on this nation. “I will go to every city of the country … and I challenge them that they would have never seen the kind of mobility of the public the way I would do,” he said, adding that the people did not need any apology from the US. He was referring to accusations he had levelled against the United States for conspiring against him, based on a diplomatic ‘threat letter’, which noted that if Imran Khan was removed, the situation would be better for Pakistan.

He said that he would go to every city in the country and create awareness among the masses, telling them that they are an independent nation and would not bow down before anyone.

“Everyone should know that this is not the Pakistan of the 1970s when the US conspired to remove Zulfikar Ali Bhutto … this is not same Pakistan. The Pakistan of today is of social media. The country has 60 million mobile phones. All our youth now have a voice and no one can zip their mouths.”

Addressing Shehbaz, Imran said he should stop the harassment of PTI supporters. “This crackdown that you’re doing against our youth over social media … listen to this clearly … the day we give the call, you would not find a place to hide.”

The PTI chief then addressed the judiciary and questioned why the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court felt the need to open their courts on Saturday night, hours before he was ousted from the top office.

“My dear judges, my judiciary, I have spent time in jail because of your freedom because I dream that one day the judiciary would stand with the weak people of society, and not the powerful… During my 25 years of politics, I have never provoked the public against state institutions or the judiciary because my life and death are in Pakistan. I ask you, what crime had I exactly committed that you opened up the courts at midnight?”

He told his supporters that he would be in Karachi on Saturday, and urged them to take to the streets across the country. “My youth, get ready, I will be out on the streets with you in every city until we force them to hold elections,” he said. “Today marks the beginning of the struggle to find actual freedom,” he added.

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