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Imran Khan Vows to Challenge Disqualification by ECP

Interior minister advises PTI to seek relief through courts, and not through street agitation

by Staff Report

File photo

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said he will challenge the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP)’s disqualification of him over “corrupt practices,” as he reiterated allegations of the electoral watchdog’s bias against his party.

“I already knew about the disqualification,” he said in a video statement on Friday night. Vowing to appeal the decision in court, he alleged that Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja was working with the ruling coalition to sideline him.

“I told everyone [in the PTI] last night about the result,” he said, vowing to continue fighting “thieves” so long as he was alive. “The nation should be prepared. I will give you a call anytime,” he said of his long-threatened but repeatedly delayed long march on Islamabad. Urging his supporters to desist any protests in his support, he told them to conserve their energies for the long march, which he claimed would be the largest in the country’s history.

“The protests won’t end at the long march,” he said, claiming his ‘Haqiqi Azadi’ movement would continue until it had achieved its goals. Alleging that the country was at the risk of another fracture—like when East Pakistan became Balochistan—he slammed what he described as the unfairness of him being disqualified while “bigger thieves” were allowed to go free.

“I brought my money to the country through banks and showed the receipts in the court, while Nawaz Sharif could not present a single receipt to prove where he got the money from,” he claimed, adding there were attempts to compare him to Nawaz Sharif, which he said was unacceptable.

“Nawaz Sharif is a thief. His children possess big palaces,” he said, reiterating that he was only ousted as prime minister because of the diplomatic cipher he alleges “proves” a widely-debunked foreign conspiracy against his government.

Go to court

Addressing a press conference after the verdict, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah advised the PTI to file an appeal against the ECP’s decision to disqualify Khan instead of encouraging its workers to resort to violence. Stressing that attempts to sow discord and create a law and order were not acceptable, he warned of consequences for anyone creating difficulties for people in a bid to protest a “merit-based verdict”. He also advised all law enforcement agencies and civil administrations of Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to stand by the state.

To a question, Sanaullah described Khan as a “dishonest” person and a “certified thief,” who had sold gifts received from foreign dignitaries, embarrassing the country in the global sphere. He also clarified that following the ECP’s verdict, a case would be registered against Khan under the Pakistan Penal Code.

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