Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday claimed he believes it is impossible for the incumbent coalition government to win the next general elections, as its policies have made the prospect of campaigning a herculean task.
“[It would be] very difficult for the current government to run an electioneering campaign,” he told 92News’ Moeed Pirzarda in an interview. By contrast, he claimed, the PTI was already working to secure public support for future polls. However, he reiterated allegations that the current government had decided to “rig” the polls, adding that the federal budget announced last week reflected this.
“This budget seems to be not for a period of a year or so, but for one or two months,” he said. “This means they [government] are making plans to get their cases closed down, and by appointing their like-minded officers on top positions, they will try to rig the next elections,” he claimed, adding that the government had also registered cases against the PTI leadership over their alleged role in last month’s “Azadi March” so it could arrest and detain anyone it wanted to without hindrance.
“Now they will destroy all institutions of the country, except judiciary, to get NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance, an agreement between military ruler Pervez Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto],” he said, slamming the Shehbaz Sharif-led government for passing the National Accountability (Amendment) Bill, 2022. “An accused cannot become a judge,” he said, referring to corruption cases against Sharif and other members of the federal cabinet.
To a question, the ousted prime minister said the PTI would soon “approach the Supreme Court” to challenge changes to laws related to NAB, electronic voting machines and overseas Pakistanis’ right to vote from their place of residence.
During his interview, Khan alleged that the incumbent government was steering the country toward the brink of collapse, adding that he did not believe it had any desire to end the current crisis. “In these circumstances, I fear that those who will bail us out will get those things done by us that will destroy future and security of the country,” he said. “Almost all people are well aware about where the country is standing, but they [government] have no planning on how to run the country in the current situation,” he claimed, adding that this could even make it difficult for the PTI to remain “independent” if it were to come into power again.
“If you [government] have no capability to run the country, then why did you remove the PTI government? In our period, economy was taking off, but they have destabilized the government,” he alleged.
To a question, Khan said the the entire nation was “looking towards institutions to intervene and make things right,” a seeming call for unconstitutional measures to oust the incumbent government.
To another question on the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the former premier admitted that projects had been halted, but claimed this was a result of coronavirus pandemic and not government resistance. He also reiterated that he had enjoyed “cordial” relations with former U.S. president Donald Trump, but the current administration led by Joe Biden was “stuck in dealing with matters related to Afghanistan.”
On what the PTI’s future strategy was following the expiration of multiple deadlines for early elections, Khan said: “First we will get permission from the Supreme Court and then stage the long march again. Will all institutions, which claimed to be democratic, give us a basic right of protest?”