Islamabad, May 26 (EFE).- Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday gave a six-day ultimatum to the Pakistani government to convene general elections, else he would intensify his mass protests.
“I am giving a six-day ultimatum to the ‘imported government.’ They should dissolve assemblies within next six days and announce fresh elections,” Khan said in a speech before thousands of his followers in Islamabad.
“Otherwise, I will march to Islamabad again with hundreds of thousands of people,” warned the deposed prime minister, who heads the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party.
On Wednesday, Khan began a march towards the Pakistani capital, which was beset by numerous clashes between his supporters and the police, who used tear gas to disperse the thousands of sympathizers demanding early elections from the Shebaz Sharif-led government.
Khan was ousted in a no-confidence vote on Apr.9 after some of his own party lawmakers and coalition partners withdrew support to his government.
After a series of big rallies across the country, Khan urged his supporters to march to Islamabad, where he has promised to stay put until the government is dissolved and a date for fresh elections is announced.
Pakistan’s Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed Khan’s PTI to hold the protest rally in Islamabad after the government refused permission to do so on security grounds that led to clashes across the country.
The government said it did not allow Khan’s party to hold a rally over fears that they would enter the Red Zone, which houses foreign embassies and missions.
One day before the start of the protest, the starting point of which was the northern city of Peshawar – one of the main strongholds of Khan’s party -, the PTI denounced the detention of more than 400 of its workers in an attempt to stop “the country’s largest political march”.
Prior to the Supreme Court’s decision, the authorities also tried to stop PTI supporters by deploying a large amount of police and paramilitary forces, as well as by blocking the roads connecting the capital.
Khan became the first minister in the country’s history to be removed from office by a motion of no confidence.
The former prime minister has claimed the United States was behind the him being ousted from power following his visit to Moscow on the day Russia invaded Ukraine. Washington has denied these allegations.
No prime minister in Pakistan’s history has succeeded in completing a full term since the country came into being in 1947 with the partition of the Indian subcontinent as it gained independence from the British Empire. EFE