Ousted Pakistani PM Khan gives govt. 6-day ultimatum to announce new elections
Pakistan’s ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned the government to call a new election within six days or he will stage a rally and march on the capital, Islamabad, with millions of his supporters.
He issued the ultimatum on Thursday, after he joined the rally of thousands of demonstrators in Islamabad, with plans to overtake part of Islamabad until the government gave in to his demand for new polls.
On Wednesday, thousands of Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s supporters heeded his call to march to the capital from nearby cities. Khan himself traveled there in a dramatic fashion by helicopter to a highway some 100 kilometers (62 miles) northwest of Islamabad.
“I want to give a message to this imported government to announce elections within six days. Dissolve the assemblies and call an election in June,” he said to the crowd, warning that he would stage a fresh rally next week if elections were not scheduled.
He then called on his supporters to disperse after 24 hour of chaos, blockade and clashes between police and protesters across the country.
The government has repeatedly announced it has no plans to hold a new election.
The protests has prompted a crackdown and more than 1,700 Khan’s supporters were arrested.
Prior to the rallies, the coalition government headed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had pledged to stop Khan’s supporters from pouring into the city, calling the rally an attempt to “divide the nation and promote chaos.”
Speaking at a press conference in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Tuesday, Khan promised to carry on with the rally. “Try to stop us, if you can,” Khan said, addressing authorities.
He said he would lead the largest march in Pakistan’s history, and that he was not afraid of death, as he urged his followers to “get ready for sacrifices” for the sake of Pakistan’s sovereignty.