Imran Khan on Monday targeted the chief of the Election Commission of Pakistan and announced that he will file a Rs 10 billion defamation suit against him for destroying his reputation by disqualifying him, as the ousted premier addressed his supporters at the start of the fourth day of his long march.
Khan has announced that his objective was to gain Haqeeqi Azadi (real freedom) through the march to Islamabad which in his words was possible if free and fair elections are held immediately.
Khan, 70, was earlier this month disqualified from membership of the current National Assembly by a five-member panel of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), which was headed by its chief Sikandar Sultan Raja.
“Sikandar Sultan, I will take you to court … so that in the future, you do not destroy anyone’s reputation on someone else’s instructions,” Khan said while addressing PTI supporters at Kamonki at the start of the fourth day of his long march.
He alleged that the ECP’s decisions against him in Toshakhana and prohibited funding cases were given on the instructions of the incumbent “imported government”.
“You (Sikandar) are friends of thieves and action will be taken,” he said.
According to Pakistan's law, any gift received from dignitaries of a foreign state must be put in the state depository or the Toshakhana.
The former prime minister had earlier announced that he would file a defamation case against Raja. The former premier made the announcement while speaking to a private news channel.
“I will file a defamation lawsuit against CEC Sikandar Sultan Raja in Toshakhana reference and foreign funding case,” Khan said in an interview and reiterated his demand for free and fair elections in the country under the new ECP chief.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief also said he would back out himself if any allegations against him in the cases were to be proven true.
"Whenever courts against me prove that I have done an illegal thing, I will not wait for the court's decision to be issued and will back out on my own," Khan said.
He also targeted the powerful establishment, saying that a country’s “establishment never stands against the nation”.
“To those who let this group of robbers (an obvious reference to the country’s rulers) impose on us, I am giving a message with due respect: For God’s sake, listen to the nation’s voice,” he urged.
Talking about his criticism of the Pakistan Army, Khan said he criticised them as “a Pakistani who lives in and would die in Pakistan”.
Khan, who also won a national assembly seat in a by-election held on Sunday in Kurram district of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, said: “See where the nation is standing”. He said the country would be strengthened when its institutions were strengthened.
He kept up his trademark vitriolic attack against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and alleged that his opponent "polished the boots of those who were powerful and oppressed those who were weak".
Earlier, he took to social media to say that he had witnessed a “revolution” taking over the country.
“The sea of people along our March on the GT Road. For 6 months, I have been witnessing a revolution taking over the country. The only question is will it be a soft one through the ballot box or a destructive one through bloodshed?” he tweeted.
Khan’s convoy of vehicles was slowly moving towards Islamabad. The organisers have announced to stay at Gujranwala overnight to relaunch the march the next day.
Before Gujranwala, Khan is expected to make a brief stopover at More Eminabad and address his supporters.
Khan has been demanding early elections and he is leading the long march towards Islamabad to force his demands. The term of the National Assembly will end in August 2023 and fresh elections should be held within 60 days.
Khan, who was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, has talked about a 'threat letter' from the US and claimed that it was part of a foreign conspiracy to remove him as he was not acceptable for following an independent foreign policy. The US has bluntly rejected the allegations.
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