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‘Might spurn NCM vote result’

PM says move orchestrated by US, entire process is discredited

On the eve of vote on the no-confidence motion against him, Prime Minister Imran Khan suggested that he might not accept a vote to oust him, calling it a move allegedly being orchestrated by the United States.

“How can I accept the result when the entire process is discredited?” he told a select group of foreign journalists at his office on Saturday. “Democracy functions on moral authority – what moral authority is left after this connivance?”

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“The move to oust me is blatant interference in domestic politics by the United States,” he said, terming it an attempt at “regime change”.

The premier, who has already lost his parliamentary majority after allies quit his coalition government and joined the opposition, had earlier in the day urged his supporters – especially the youth – to take to the streets today (Sunday) ahead of the vote, Reuters reported.

During an hour-long live question and answer session, which began a little before 5:30pm and was broadcast live on television, radio and digital media, Imran asked the youth to stage “peaceful protests” against the “foreign conspiracy”. “You don’t have to sit silently [because] if you stay quiet, you will be on the side of the bad. I want you to protest and speak up against this conspiracy – not for me but for your future.”

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He said he had “more than one plan” for today’s crucial vote on no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.

“Before taking your telephone calls, I want to talk to the people of my country for five minutes because right now Pakistan is standing on a decisive point,” the prime minister said in his opening remarks. “This is a war for the future of the country… There are two routes we can take. Do we want to take the way of destruction or a path of pride? There will be difficulties in this path but this is the path of our Prophet (PBUH). This path is for our good. This path brought a revolution in the country.”

The premier then discussed the political crisis in the country. “The politics of Pakistan has reached a point today where the nation has to decide where you want to take the country today. A society that stands with honesty and justice takes a new life. But when a society becomes neutral, it begins supporting the bad.”

He said a conspiracy had been hatched against the government “and it has been proven that politicians are being bought like goats to topple the government”.

He said the history would not forget the traitors, and urged the masses not to “let them feel that you have forgotten”.

Imran said he would take legal action against those who “betrayed the nation”. “I met my lawyers today and we have a plan. We won’t let them go free. All of them will be punished. We will decide by tonight [Saturday] the kind of legal action we want to take against them.”

When asked what he would say to those criticising the military, the premier said only two things have kept the country united today: the army and the PTI. He said the Pakistan Army is a professional force, and “it is important for the country because a lot of countries are trying to harm Pakistan”. “We need this army. It has sacrificed for us. I want you to not criticise the army.”

“Second is the PTI because it’s a party that has kept the country connected. Initially, it was the PPP but right now the PTI is the party that represents the country and is considered a national party. These people are trying to weaken the party.”

He also made it clear that he had no differences with the army. “They took a decision and we respect it. The army decided to stay neutral and we respect it.”

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