Conflicts & War

Pakistan’s former PM Khan leads march for ‘real freedom’

Islamabad, Oct 28 (EFE).- Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday leads a march from the city of Lahore to the capital Islamabad seeking “real freedom,” after his term came to an abrupt end earlier this year on losing a no confidence motion in the parliament.

In a video message on Thursday, Khan said the movement was not for political or personal interests or even to topple the government, but to make his country independent in the actual sense.

“The purpose of this (movement) is that the decisions are taken in the country (not abroad),” Khan said in the message apparently referring to the alleged US meddling in Pakistan politics.

Khan was ousted from power in a vote of no confidence in April after major allies of his government joined hands with the opposition.

The former premier blamed the US for supporting the opposition parties led by incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz).

Khan claimed he was removed from power over his visit to Russia on the day it invaded Ukraine.

Washington has categorically denied Khan’s allegations.

Since then, Khan has held several large rallies across the country, repeatedly asking for early elections to allow the people to decide the fate of the country.

The latest march for “haqeeqi azadi” or “real freedom” was announced by Khan earlier this week.

Thousands of demonstrators are expected to take part in the current march that will most likely reach Islamabad on Nov. 4, passing through major cities of Gujrat, Gujranwala, Jhelum and others along the G.T. Road, former foreign minister under the Khan’s government Shah Mahmood Qureshi said.

The previous long march from Peshawar to Islamabad was called off by the cricketer-turned politician in May 25 after the police resorted to shelling teargas and charging at the demonstrators using batons.

Khan, who came to power after the 2018 general elections, had good relations with the country’s military establishment but it got strained after a couple of years over major foreign policy issues including Pakistan’s relations with the US, according to local experts.

Khan wanted to bring a balance in country’s relations with the US and Russia, and has often regretted Islamabad’s involvement in helping Washington fight the war against the Taliban. EFE


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