Former Pakistani Prime Minister and head of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, Imran Khan, called for early elections on 21 April, and asked his followers to prepare for his call to march on Islamabad.
Khan, who was ousted in a US-instigated parliamentary coup on 10 April, referred to the change in government as a “mistake,” adding that the PTI is a democratic movement and would never accept “imported rule.”
“We don’t want any confrontation, but the mistake of imposing the ‘imported government’ can only be rectified by holding immediate elections in the country,” the former prime minister said during a speech at a rally in Lahore.
“Wait for my call when I will invite you to Islamabad. I am not giving a call just to the PTI but to all Pakistanis. I want to make it clear that I don’t want confrontation,” Khan added.
Just hours before the Pakistani parliament were set to vote on a new prime minister to replace Khan earlier this month, lawmakers in the PTI party handed in their resignations en masse.
The lawmakers said they would not allow a government brought in by foreign intervention to take control of Pakistan.
Massive protests have swept the nation since the ousting of Khan, with tens of thousands rallying in favor of Khan and against what many have called a foreign conspiracy spearheaded by the US.
In late March, Khan received a briefing letter from Islamabad’s ambassador to Washington, which detailed the words of a senior US official saying they felt relations with the country would be better if Khan “left office.”
Last year, Khan openly challenged the US after asserting that Pakistan would not allow its territory and airspace to be used for US operations against militants in Afghanistan, and that he would not allow any US bases in the country.
On 6 March, Imran Khan made headlines after he criticized western powers which had sought to pressure Islamabad into condemning Russia’s military actions in Ukraine.
“What do you think of us? Are we your slaves … that whatever you say, we will do?” Khan said while addressing a political rally.