Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan told his supporters, on Thursday, via a virtual address that they must “continue the anti-government protests,” a week after he was wounded following an assassination attempt against him.
Earlier, on November 7, the dominant opposition party in Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), announced on Monday that the party is scheduled to resume its protest marches on November 9.
Khan insisted that he “will reach Rawalpindi and I invite you all to come and march with us because it is a matter of the future of the country and the future of your children.”
The march was halted on November 3 following an assassination attempt against PTI’s leader, Imran Khan, which left him with a wounded leg.
Khan addressed a few hundred workers in the eastern city of Wazirabad, the same city where the assassination attempt took place.
“Our march will not stop,” Khan said, noting that “the protest will grow stronger as it approaches the capital, Islamabad, and I will not back down as long as I live.”
In the video, Khan rejected the police version of the incident, saying that “at least two militants carried out what he considered a well-planned attack.”
He did not provide evidence to support his claim, but did refer to occasions on which he spoke at his public rallies in September about the existence of a suspicious plot.
Pakistan has entered a “dangerous phase” following the assassination attempt on former Prime Minister Imran Khan and his accusation that it was a plan involving a senior intelligence officer, according to commentators.
Khan survived an assassination attempt on November 3 while leading supporters on a widely publicized march to the capital to call for early elections.
He said on Friday that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, and Major-General Faisal Nasir, an intelligence officer, intended to assassinate him and blame it on “a religious fanatic.”
“The political situation in Pakistan has entered into a dangerous phase,” said academic and political analyst Tauseef Ahmed Khan, who is also a board member of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan. “In a country with a history of political chaos, the sounds echo.”
Despite being deposed by a vote of no-confidence in April, Khan retains widespread public support, having won a series of by-elections even as he fights a number of legal proceedings launched by the present government.
As the pressure mounts, the government’s reliance on the country’s “deep state” – a term commonly used to refer to the powerful military – for survival grows, according to Ahmed Khan. “It is a perilous situation — not only for the democratic process but also for the country — especially with regards to economic development,” he said.
“The issue(s) of poverty, hunger, and development fall into the background.”
It is worth noting that Khan has been aiming for legislative elections to take place by October of next year, but a judicial body pertaining to the elections committee announced that the former PM is not qualified to participate as an upcoming candidate or run for office for the next five years.
Source: Agencies (edited by Al-Manar English Website)