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Imran Khan calls for 'civil disobedience movement' to oust Nawaz Sharif

PTI 17 Aug 2014, 23:38:07 PM IST
Islamabad: Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan today declared a “civil disobedience movement” against the Nawaz Sharif-led government, saying the country's future is bleak under the rule of businessmen, as cleric Tahirul Qadri gave a 48-hour ultimatum to the embattled Prime Minister to resign.

“I have called for the civil disobedience movement for you, not for myself. We will not pay taxes, electricity or gas bills,” Khan told his supporters while giving a speech which he described as the most important of his political career.  

“I thought that if this rally heads towards the Prime Minister House then they will clash with the police,” and they (the police) will get killed which “I don't want”, he said on the second day of his sit-in here.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) chief appealed to the people of Pakistan to stop paying utility bills and taxes to the current government.

“I am giving a two-day deadline to the government,” he said, adding that after that he would not be able to stop his workers from marching into the “Red Zone”, where the Parliament, the President and the Prime Minister's residences and embassies are located.

For two days, Khan urged the crowd not to move ahead, because he has promised Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar that he and his supporters will not cross into the “Red Zone”.  Khan asserted that under the rule of “these businessmen who only want to make money for themselves, Pakistan's future is bleak.”

Khan's remarks were directed at Sharif, one of the country's wealthiest person and the owner of Ittefaq Group.  “There is only one way now, we will kick off a civil disobedience campaign,” he said to raucous applause from thousands of his supporters, who have traveled from Lahore in his ‘Azadi March' aimed at ousting Prime Minister Sharif who won a landslide victory in the general election last year.  

In the polls, Sharif's PML-N had won 190 out of 342 seats. Khan's PTI got 34 seats, the third largest bloc in the legislature. Khan claimed that his party should have won many more seats but for the vote-rigging by Sharif's PML-N.

Earlier, stick wielding PTI protesters hit containers and removed barbed wire blocking their way to the “Red Zone”.  Meanwhile, leader of Pakistan Awami Tehrik (PAT) Qadri, who is calling for the arrest of Sharif and his brother Shahbaz for the killing of his 14 supporters in Lahore on June 17, also gave a 48-hour ultimatum to Sharif to resign.  

“The country's survival will be at stake if Nawaz Sharif and his cronies are allowed to rule the country. We don't want mid-term elections... what we want is revolution,” he said.

“We will not allow this system to continue any more,” Qadri said while addressing supporters today