ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said that the ‘real Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq of the nation’ was Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and not any head of state institution as widely perceived following his address in Abbottabad on Sunday.
“Shehbaz Sharif is real Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq who is installed as the prime minister through a foreign conspiracy,” he said while addressing a public gathering in Jhelum on Tuesday night as a part of his party’s drive to mobilise the public and strengthen his stance that he was ousted from power through a US-backed ‘foreign conspiracy’.
Khan was responding to allegations that his narrative was against state institutions.
The former premier has been accused of targeting the military, albeit in a subtle manner. In his latest public rally on Sunday in Abbottabad, the PTI chairman had once again said “only animals were neutral” in remarks apparently aimed at the military leadership, which did not take any side when he was ousted from power through a no-trust move.
The deposed premier on multiple occasions has also narrated his version of the sub-continent’s history saying Sirajud Daula was a governor of the Mughal emperor whose sipah-e-salaar (commander-in-chief) Mir Jaffar colluded with the English to topple the government. He repeated this tale on Sunday’s Abbottabad show as well as today’s rally in the Punjab town.
The remarks prompted a response from Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying that Imran’s speech was “a grand conspiracy against Pakistan” and its institutions.
The premier’s statement came on the heels of military spokesperson’s statement warning politicians, journalists and analysts against dragging Pakistan Army and its leadership in the country’s political affairs, saying that the practice is “extremely damaging”.
“[PM] Shehbaz Sharif you should be ashamed of yourself for saying that I am attacking army… Nawaz and Maryam attack army and cherry blossom [PM Shehbaz] polishes boot,” said the ousted premier while responding to the premier’s allegations that Imran is “spewing venom” against state institutions.
“Put my name on ECL [exit control list]. I don’t want to go abroad… I have to live and die here,” he added.
“I have a request for you that from next time bring more Pakistan’s flag than party’s flags,” Imran said in his opening remarks while thanking the supporters particularly women for tuning out in large number at the “historic rally”.
Imran reiterated his allegations that his government was toppled through a US-backed conspiracy and local “Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq (traitors)” colluded with America for the same.
“Entire cabinet is going to London on tax payers’ money and there they will meet convicted absconder… they will take instructions from him… that’s why the entire nation has stood up,” he said while referring to reports that PM Shehbaz along with other PML-N leader is leaving for London to hold important consultations with his elder brother.
Referring to Dawn leaks controversy, Imran said former PM Nawaz gave impression to India that he wanted friendship with India “but army did not”.
The PTI chief said India was targeting army and PTI “because they knew that Pakistan cannot be disintegrated in the presence of these two”.
He also accused the past and incumbent rulers of destroying the country’s economy and pushing the country into debt trap.
“Who made nation a beggar… they stole nation’s wealth and made offshore assets worth billions of rupees,” he said.
“When I give the call for long march after the [May] 20th, I have only one demand [that hold] early elections and we do not accept this imported government,” he added.
Imran also lashed out at PPP leaders, saying that he will soon visit Sindh and rid the province of former president Asif Zardari.
“You [Zardari] have looted the nation and sent money abroad! I told you when I have been ousted I will become more dangerous for you… I was waiting to be amongst my nation… I thank God for my nation’s support!”
The former premier has time and again claimed that a “foreign conspiracy” was hatched to topple his government over his refusal to have Pakistan’s foreign policy be influenced by foreign powers.
Since his ouster in April, he has held several public rallies in major cities of the country.
His first anti-government roadshow on April 13 in the centre of his party’s political power, Peshawar, saw a big turnout where Imran announced his plan to continue protesting against the newly-installed government until fresh elections were held.
He termed the newly formed set up an “imported government” and lashed out at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying the “decisive moment” had come for the people to decide if they wanted “slavery or liberty”.