Imran Khan reiterates his demand for holding fresh free & fair general elections in country to avoid political turmoil
Says political stability necessary for the progress of the country
Asks CEC Dr. Sikandar Sultan Raja to step down from his post
ISLAMABAD ( Web News )
A day after securing a resounding victory in Punjab by-polls, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday reiterated his demand for holding fresh free and fair general elections in the country to avoid political turmoil. Imran Khan said that political stability necessary for the progress of the country. Imran Khan also demanded of the Chief Election Commission (CEC) Dr. Sikandar Sultan Raja to step down from his position as Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has no confidence in him.
“There is only one way to rid the country of political instability… free and fair election. When they were removing me, I had announced general elections but courts overturned my decision. I still believe it was the right call,” Imran Khan said while addressing the nation following his party’s landslide victory in Sunday’s bye-elections in Punjab.
Calling Chief Election Commissioner Dr. Sikander Sultan Raja “dishonest”, Imran Khan in Monday’s victory speech asked him to resign as, according to him, free and fair elections cannot take place in the country under his supervision.
“Under this ECP, free and fair election cannot take place. The country’s biggest party does not trust it. I ask CEC to resign. We have no confidence in you. You’re a biased person and connected with a party,” he alleged.
Reflecting on last night’s victory, Imran Khan said, “One cannot become a nation without a philosophy. When this imported government was imposed upon us via foreign conspiracy, people started asking questions… but, now we’re on our way to become a nation”.
The elites of the country have put their money outside Pakistan. Have you ever heard someone doing that in Britain or France of any other country, he asked.
“I thank Allah for the last night’s win. This nation came into being after many sacrifices. Quaide-Azam did not even let his disease known as he knew the opponents might try to delay the Partition.
“We should all be proud of ourselves…. the way people especially youth and women came out to vote, this is Naya Pakistan.”
Commenting on his party’s last tenure at the Centre, he said during the last two years, we had the best growth rate. “All indicators were pointing at the right direction. Large scale manufacturing was on the rise despite Coronavirus pandemic. It decreased unemployment and generated wealth. We had record growth in agriculture. The farmers made record profit. All records were broken in textile sectors. It was hard to find any labour free in Faisalabad. We had record remittances. In IT sector, we recorded a 75% growth.”
The former premier said, “We were with IMF for 2.5 years. We were taking Pakistan towards a welfare state. We introduced health card. Such schemes are not even given in middle income countries, leave alone poor countries.”
He further said that Ehsaas programme was taking Pakistan towards become a welfare state. “We also offered interest-free loans.”
At such a time, he said the PTI-led government was overthrown via “foreign conspiracy”. “I and Shaukat Tareen tried to convince the powerful quarters that if our government was overthrown, the economic crisis would be unmanageable. We went to those who could do something.”
During PPP and PML-N tenures, Imran Khan said, the country’s exports did not increase. “They were only concerned on eliminating their corruption cases. Rs1,100 billion corruption will not be forgiven,” he maintained. He said that the government has waived off the Rs 1,100 billion corruption cases though the passage of bill from assembly, adding that he is going to approach the Supreme Court of Pakistan today (Tuesday) against this step of the government.
“Today, Pakistan is fourth country which might default. Just like Sri Lanka, we’re going to default. Moody’s has turned our credit rating negative.”
He said Pakistan’s reserves have halved and currency is depreciating. “Rupee should have strengthened after the IMF deal… we will never get out of this financial crisis without political stability,” he maintained.
The PTI chief reiterated that free and transparent elections were the only solution to come out of crises. “The way yesterday’s election was conducted, crisis will even deepen. Punjab government used all tactics and despite Supreme Court’s orders, they used state machinery. Police threatened people. Police became a jiyala (stalwart) of PML-N. It is contempt of SC’s orders.”
He also accused the chief election commissioner of ‘dishonesty’. “Four million people were termed dead and they were taken out of the electoral system. “CEC rejected our pleas, but thankfully the apex court overruled,” he added.
“We do not trust this CEC. We all know money is used in secret ballot and that’s why we wanted an open ballot… Yousaf Raza Gilani’s son was caught red-handed in the past.”
Imran Khan said when he left the PM Office, his political opponents thought people will distribute sweets in the streets. Instead, people in came out in large numbers to protest against my ouster, he added.
Imran Khan said PM Shehbaz Sharif and his son – Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz – were about to be sent to prison soon but they conspired and the same person becomes the prime minister. “This never happens anywhere in the entire world… first you have to get yourself clear and only then you can participate in any election,” he explained.
Despite CEC’s effort, the nation defeated them, he said. “Today, people have become awared. Whoever tried to steal people’s mandate, he will be defeated. The nation is going towards achieving real freedom. I have never seen such passion in people… no one should be in delusion that people will accept decisions taken in closed rooms.”
Coming down hard on the unity government, Imran Khan said, “They increased petrol price and later only reduced it by Rs18 per litre. We should only seek fresh elections. We can only take our country towards progress through political stability. We never focused on increasing exports. Overseas Pakistanis are our big asset. They will invest if we get political stability and for that we need free and fair elections.”
The PTI chairman said that during his political career, which spans more than two decades, he has never seen such “awareness” among the Pakistani nation as it was witnessed during the by-elections.
Imran Khan said that he will never forget May 25 – the day his party marched to Islamabad — as the government “tortured” PTI workers and supporters. “They did not feel ashamed while tear gassing our supporters despite the presence of families there […] they have no empathy for people,” he said.
The PTI chairman said that despite all efforts of the government, the public took to the streets and, resultantly, Pakistan was “finally heading towards becoming a nation”.
“If someone thinks that the nation’s decisions can be made behind closed doors, then they’re wrong.” Imran Khan said that if anyone plans of stealing people’s mandate, their plans will fail, adding that the only way forward for the country was early elections.
Imran Khan claimed that the CEC tried his best to turn the polls in favour of the PML-N. “I am disappointed in the chief election commissioner. How could he let all this happen? He is not competent to run [the Election Commission of Pakistan] and is biased towards a political party. Raja should immediately resign.”
He said that his party did not trust the CEC, citing the example of Senate elections in 2021 in which Imran said evidence of bribery was seen.
“In Sindh’s LG (local government) elections, 15 per cent of PPP candidates won unopposed, yet nobody investigated it,” he recalled. “During the Daska polls, the returning officer opened all the votes against PTI. He made us lose that election.”
He said that despite several cases of rigging during polls being brought before the CEC, he never punished anyone, which encouraged malpractice as no one feared accountability.
But, despite all these tactics, Imran Khan said: “We won as people came out to cast their votes like never before.