Ousted from govt, Imran shows massive street power

Imran Khan says only people defend their sovereignty, democracy

Hours after his ouster, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday vowed to begin a “freedom struggle against a ‘foreign conspiracy’ of regime change in Pakistan”.

“Pakistan became an independent state in 1947, but the freedom struggle begins again today against a foreign conspiracy of regime change,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle. “It is always the people of the country who defend their sovereignty and democracy,” he added.

According to the PTI’s official Twitter handle, Imran also chaired a meeting of the party’s central executive committee earlier in the day.

In another tweet, it said that peaceful protests across all cities, including Lahore, Sialkot, Sahiwal, Karachi and Rawalpindi, would be held on Sunday night.

“Peaceful protest will be carried out throughout the country … The country stands with Imran Khan,” former energy minister Hammad Azhar said during a media talk.

Imran had also talked about his future plans during his last address as a prime minister to the nation on Friday. Urging the masses to come out against the “imported government” on Sunday night, Imran pledged in his televised address that he would not sit idly by and instead continue to struggle against the foreign intervention in Pakistan’s internal matters. However, even at that time, he was hoping to turn the table “at the last minute”.

He repeatedly asked the nation to decide if they wanted to live on the terms dictated by others. If the answer was affirmative, he asked, what was the purpose of celebrating Pakistan Day on March 23 and Independence Day on August 14 every year. In his address, the PTI chief stressed that the nation would have to decide what kind of Pakistan they wanted to live in. He also emphasised that the masses, not the army, needed to protect the democracy and sovereignty of the country.

On the other hand, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi clarified that the party had yet to decide on resigning from the National Assembly, negating fellow party leader Chaudhry Fawad’s claim made hours earlier than their MNAs were to tender their resignations en masse today (Monday).

Talking to a private news channel, Qureshi said that apart from finalising his name as PTI’s candidate for prime minister’s election opposite Shehbaz Sharif, it was discussed in the party’s core committee if its members should remain in the National Assembly under the current circumstances, “but a final decision was not made”.