Fresh Elections Otherwise Blood March: Imran Khan warned Pakistan Government

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After removal from the PM office, former Premier Imaran Khan has staged protests in dozens of cities in the first 20 days of May against the current government. All these public gatherings were attended by a large number of people and no untoward incident took place anywhere.

 

In the previous week, Imran Khan announced a long march against the government and directed Party workers to reach the capital on May 25th (Wednesday)- their final destination was D-Chowk- in front of parliament house. During his address to party workers and supporters in Peshawar Imran Khan said, “On the 25th May, I will meet you in Islamabad on the Srinagar Highway, you have to reach there at 3pm. I invite all the women because I have seen your anger. I had never seen that before. I want people from all walks of life to come because this is Jihad (a holy war) and not politics against an imported government. I have decided and told my team that we have to be ready to sacrifice our lives”. He said this March had two major demands: the dissolution of the national and provincial assemblies and date of the fresh election. “Anything less than transparent, free and fair elections is not acceptable”, Imran Khan added. About the military establishment in the country, Imran Khan said, “I also say to my army that you said you are neutral, so now remain neutral”.

 

On May 24, the government has started blocking inter-provinces roads, avenues and motorways. On 25th May, public processions started marching from Peshawar and Lahore towards Islamabad. Central government locked the capital with walls of containers. The pace of life has become zero in the city. Schools, colleges and universities remained closed. Telephone, mobile and internet services were suspended. Due to containers on all major roads no one in the city was able to reach the destinations including ambulances and rescue teams. The security of the Red Zone was handed over to the Armed Forces of Pakistan. The Red Zone consists of Parliament House (National Assembly and Senate), Supreme Court of Pakistan, Foreign office, Diplomatic Enclave, Embassies and foreign missions, state owned Pakistan Television (PTV) and offices of the federal ministries.

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The main procession started from Peshawar – the provincial capital of KP, the only province where the PTI still has a government- this entourage was led by Imran Khan himself. At ‘Attock Bridge’ (a gateway to Punjab province and federal), a massive conflict was observed. Protestors pelted stones on police while Punjab police fired teargas and batons charged the supporters of ousted PM Imran Khan. Same kind of classes were witnessed in Lahore and Karachi where marchers and police remained in hide and seek situations.

 

The Supreme Court of Pakistan has intervened in the situation and instructed the government to allow protesters to enter the capital, while the apex court also directed the PTI leadership and its workers to remain cool and claim, and not violate the laws of the land.

 

Holding party’s signature red and green flags, with chanting slogan against the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) government as charged demonstrator arrived in Islamabad after midday (May 25, 2022), violent clashes were observed on different locations in the city. In the evening, the posh part and financial hub of Islamabad “Blue Area” converted into a battleground between marchers and police.

 

During his speech to demonstrators former PM Imran Khan again blamed the current government for its alleged involvement in international conspiracy against him and labeled them as an ‘imported government’. He said “I want to send a message to this imported government, I give you six days to declare the election. You should announce the election in the month of June”. Imran Khan wants to dissolve the assemblies. “If you do not do this after six days, I will bring the whole nation back to Islamabad”, Imran Khan warned the government. After this speech the protesters were dispersed.

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While speaking to EAT News Federal minister for Information Ms. Marriyam Aurangzeb heavily criticized the Pakistan Tehreek e Insaf (PTI) long march and party’s leadership. She said that the current government will complete its constitutional tenure till August 2023, and the decision of new elections will be taken with consent of allied parties. “You no longer have any authority over elections, while PTI was in government why didn’t they announce the elections. The PTI government was working on the agenda of looting the country” she further said.

 

During a telephonic conversation with Eat News Federal Interior Minister Mr. Rana Sana ullah said “In the name of long march, PTI and its leadership, especially Imran Khan tried to sabotage the peace of the country. We believe that peaceful protest is the fundamental right of every citizen which is promised by the constitution of the country but they (PTI) claimed it was a blood march, the way PTI workers violently entered the city and protested disrupted the law and order situation, the government will not allow anyone to act like this”.

 

“They were not here for a nonviolent protest, they want to over-through the sitting government, how can a democratic government permits such kind of forceful and fierce march, we have to establish writ of the government and we had”, Mr. Rana Sana ullah, Federal Interior Minister was speaking to EAT News.

 

Violent protests around the country claimed at least 7 lives including 2 policemen. 16 different cases have been registered against PTI leadership in Islamabad including former PM and PTI Chairman Imran Khan, Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi and General Secretary Asad Umar. The lawsuit against the PTI leaders includes the allegations of blocking roads, interfering in government affairs, attacking police and damaging property.

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Later on, in Islamabad, during a press conference former premier Imran Khan said, “I am standing with my words, I gave 6 days to government, judiciary and establishment to announce next general elections, if it not happened, I will come with more street power, even more than two million people around the country will march towards the capital. We will continue our sit-in until the government is toppled. Immediate fresh election is the only way to address the current situation”.

 

The PML-N sitting government has rejected the demands of the PTI and said, “now if PTI workers ever tried to enter the capital like a mob, they will be dealt with by Iron hands”.

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Muhammad Farhan Niazi is a correspondent for Eat News in Pakistan and is an experienced senior producer with a demonstrated history of working in the media production industry. Skilled in feature and news writing, non-linear editing, radio, multimedia journalism, Online journalism, film production, and sound. Strong media and communication professional graduated from University of Peshawar.

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Eat News is a Taiwanese digital media, analyzes current events and issues through column articles, videos, visual aid, and exclusive interviews.
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