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Angry Pak opposition parties give Imran Khan March 23 ultimatum to quit

Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman.

A day after the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan threatened the opposition and the military establishment, the 11-party opposition alliance—the  Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) has mounted a robust riposte.

"The PDM will enter Islamabad on March 23 if Imran Khan does not resign,” said the PDM chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Tuesday. Rehman claimed that Imran Khan is scared and in desperation he had sent his emissary to appeal for the cancellation of  the march.

“The Imran Khan government knows such a big march is due on that day, and now they are asking us to cancel it. Seems he is planning to hatch a conspiracy against the movement but sending the incumbent government home is a constitutional and Shariah obligation,” Rehman said. The PDM leader appealed to all the allies and political parties to join their “Oust Imran Khan” march which is scheduled for the Pakistan Day – March 23.

He revealed that the Imran Khan’s Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid told him that there are terrorism threats and “Benazir Bhutto was also told not to stage a procession in Rawalpindi because of security reasons but she went ahead with it despite the warnings and got killed.”

But the opposition parties of Pakistan are confident that the proposed march will be the last nail in the coffin for this government, which has failed on every front and most importantly Imran Khan has lost support of the military establishment. 

On January 24, the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan issued a warning during a live TV show when he said: “I warn you if I am out of the government, I will be more dangerous to you. Till now I was watching the situation. If I come out on the street then you would not have any place to hide because people have seen your true colours.”

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According to Pakistani political pundits, Khan’s  remark was surely an implicit acknowledgement that  his government could find itself out of power.

These outbursts were directed to the opposition and the military establishment. It was a signal  that he was ready for his role in the opposition and even his trusted colleagues in the government knew it. The very next day, one of Khan’s most trusted advisors on accountability, Shahzad Akbar resigned.

Last week, Imran Khan was lambasted by his ministers in a cabinet meeting for losing local  elections to the PDM in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa  province which was the only stronghold of the ruling party. He was blamed for not listening to party colleagues.

“We have voted for you to become the prime minister, but if your behaviour remains the same, then we will not vote for you the next time,” the defence minister Parvez Khattak told Khan.

Khattak was not alone in his criticism. The other cabinet members and coalition partners came heavily on Imran Khan and his “finance minister” blaming them for the mess in the country.

“It is like a sinking ship,” says Kamran Yusuf, a Pakistani expert.

Clearly, nothing is right in the innards of the Imran Khan government, and  threats hurled at the opposition have lost their sting. 

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