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Imran Khan calls for street protests on Sunday against Sharif government and Pakistan army chief Bajwa

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan called for a nationwide protest at 9 pm on Sunday.

After his controversial  Long March, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on all Pakistanis to join  street protests on Sunday against the Shehbaz Sharif led government. He has also called all government employees and army personnel and their families to join him against rising inflation, which he said has been the doing of the Sharif government, saying it was "incapable of handling the economy".

In a recorded video message, the ousted premier  said that the ‘imported government’ did not have any plan and roadmap to salvage the sinking economy, adding that they were facing a trust-deficit, as no country was ready to trust the imposed government. He warned that inflation would soar even higher in days to come if the nation "kept sitting idly" in their homes.

“I invite trade unions, professionals, doctors, engineers, clerks, army and government workers to take to the streets. Everyone has to come out against this imported government, otherwise inflation will further increase,," Khan said.

He claimed that the International Monetary Fund put pressure on him when he was the Prime Minister to raise fuel prices but “we provided relief to the people from rising inflation.”

Blaming Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his coalition partners, Khan said that they did not worry about the crippling economy and back-breaking inflation because public relief was not in their priority list. They were merely interested in clearing their names from corruption cases and appointing officials of their choice to rig the next elections.

“Therefore, I will soon give a call for a powerful show,” he said and urged the lawyers to ensure their participation because it was not politics but jihad.

In his serial  attacks on the Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the belligerent former premier Imran Khan mocked his “neutrality”.

“I told neutrals, there was a foreign conspiracy against Pakistan and it was time to save the country. It was not the time to stay neutral but They (Pakistan Army leadership) did not listen to me,” Khan said. He stressed that  those who really  care for Pakistan should join him.  The veiled exhortation by the former premier, asking sections of the military to protest, is unlikely to go down well with the army-led establishment. 

It is not the first time that Khan has turned against his former supporter, Gen. Bajwa. Since he was ousted from power, Khan has been trying to provoke army officers to raise their voices against the army chief, who he believes sided with the opposition parties to remove him.

Khan knows that his fight with Bajwa has reached the point of no return. Khan has been apparently emboldened by the rumblings that former ISI chief Lt General Faiz Hameed and other army officers support him, and have opposed Bajwa’s decision to “abandon” Imran Khan. Many retired generals are seen arguing on TV channels in favour of Khan and against using the judiciary to push the PTI leader out.

This is the first time in Pakistan’s history when a civilian leader is targeting the country’s powerful military establishment and even forcing its officers to pick sides. Every social media account of Imran Khan’s party has stepped up its attack on General Bajwa and asked serving and retired officers to support Imran Khan.

While General Bajwa is busy in fire fighting in his army, the Shehbaz Sharif led government is planning to file cases against Imran Khan for going against the country’s most powerful institution – the Pakistani army.

“Imran Khan is a gang leader. His political campaign is more dangerous than terrorism," said Maryam Nawaz Sharif, Vice-Chairman of ruling PML-N party.

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