Imran Khan’s party announces nationwide protests on March 10

In a post on X, PTI leader Hammad Azhar said, "There will be a peaceful but strong protest on Sunday. Everyone should be ready."

Islamabad: Jailed former prime minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party on Tuesday announced that it will launch nationwide protests on March 10 against the “stealing” of the mandate, nearly a month after an inconclusive general election marred by allegations of vote rigging.

“We will unite all political forces and will launch a movement within the law and Constitution,” said former National Assembly speaker and senior PTI leader Asad Qaiser while speaking to the media here.

He said that they are planning to take to the streets in all provinces so their demands are met, Geo News reported.

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“Our movement will continue and will bring together all political forces,” he said, adding that they will ally with like-minded parties.

The February 8 general election, marred by allegations of widespread rigging, in Pakistan, resulted in a hung Parliament with independent candidates backed by Imran Khan’s party winning more than 90 seats at the 266-member National Assembly. Ex-premier Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N bagged 75 seats and former foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto’s PPP got 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) won 17 seats.

Nawaz’s younger brother Shehbaz Sharif was sworn in as prime minister on Monday, days after his Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party agreed on a power-sharing deal to form a coalition government.

Qaiser said that they would protest peacefully as they don’t believe in the Shehbaz Sharif-led “fake government”.

“You have no respect for our mandate and the 30 million votes we got,” he said, adding that “180 seats” have been stolen from the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC), the party joined by PTI-backed lawmakers.

A five-member panel of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) on Monday ruled against a petition by the Sunni Ittehad Council (SIC) to allot it reserved seats for women and minorities in the national and provincial assemblies. The right wing party came to prominence after independent lawmakers elected with the support of PTI joined it.

“A fake prime minister is sitting on the seat right now. And how can a fake PM take this country out of crisis?” Qaiser questioned.

“We don’t consider Shehbaz Sharif a legitimate prime minister in any capacity. He knows he’s fake,” Qaiser said. “I am scared to think how this country will survive. God forbid there’s a revolution in this country,” he added.

PTI lawmaker Umair Niazi said that party founder Imran Khan has decided to call for countrywide protests on March 10, Dawn newspaper reported.

Speaking to reporters outside the Adiala Jail, Niazi, in an apparent reference to the ECP’s verdict on reserved seats, said this decision has “stolen the rights of the women” of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

“Khan sahib has said that we will not let this happen. This is why he had said of Saturday but then he said there are presidential elections on that day he said to [hold protests] on Sunday,” Niazi added.

In a post on X, PTI leader Hammad Azhar later said, “There will be a peaceful but strong protest on Sunday. Everyone should be ready.”

The party’s official account confirmed the same.

Imran Khan’s sister Aleema Khan said that the PTI founder supports reconciliation, but not with those who “stole” the party’s votes. “If you want to hold dialogue with thieves then it will be better to open the doors of jail,” she said.

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