Announce polls or get ready to face long march: Imran tells Sharif

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday said the nation had rejected the ‘imported government’ and reiterated his call for early elections, saying the government is being given ‘some more time’ before he gives the final date for the party’s long march.

“I am giving them (government) some more time for the sake of the country and I repeat that they still have time to announce elections,” said the PTI chief.

“If they do not, I will begin my march as the preparations are almost complete,” said Imran as he addressed the media in Islamabad a day after almost clean-sweeping by-polls on eight NA seats.

He also claimed that the recent audio leaks proved that the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) was in cahoots with Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N) to plan these elections.

“The audio leaks have also proven that the chief election commissioner Sikandar Sultan is a key player of PML-N.”

However, he added, through the public’s unwavering support, his party was able to defeat their combined candidates.

“ECP and PML-N had planned to schedule these by-polls in constituencies where they thought their combined vote bank was double the size of PTI’s,” he said.
Imran said that despite the hurdles that were created by rescheduling the elections, they were able to defeat the combined candidates.

Touching upon the National Assembly seat the party lost in Karachi’s Malir district, Imran accused the PPP of rigging the election. “I have complete evidence of PPP rigging the elections like they always do in Sindh,” he said.

He went on to claim that the election commissioner was on the payroll of the Sindh government, an issue for which they had already approached the Supreme Judicial Council, but the ‘case was not being heard’.

The PTI chief went on to term the by-polls a ‘public referendum’, saying the nation wants “immediate elections as it has rejected this imported government”.

The PTI chairman also vowed to raise the issue of violence being inflicted upon PTI Senator Azam Swati by filing a petition in the Supreme Court.

He added that special sessions will also be called in the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies to highlight the issue while the party will also take the matter to international organisations, including the United Nations and the European Union.

Reiterating his demand for fair polls, Imran said it was the only way for the country to attain political and economic stability.

Imran Khan won six National Assembly seats for PTI in a by-election on Sunday that was seen as a direct contest between the former ruling party and the current ruling coalition, which also grabbed two seats.

Out of the eight National Assembly seats previously held by the PTI, Imran contested on seven, while Meher Bano Qureshi was to defend the party’s bastion in Multan. However, PPP made inroads, with Hakeem Baloch winning in Karachi and Ali Musa Gilani in Multan.

According to the unofficial results announced by the ECP, Imran won the National Assembly seats from Mardan, Charsadda and Peshawar in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Faisalabad and Nankana Sahib in Punjab and the Korangi district of Karachi in Sindh.

The PPP won in Multan, Punjab and Malir district of Karachi. Besides, by-polls were also held on three seats of the Punjab Assembly previously held by PML-N. According to the unofficial results, the PTI emerged victorious on two seats, while the PML-N retained one.

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