‘Why did country’s defenders not stop conspiracy?’ asks Imran

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Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday asked the “neutrals” why they did not defend the country against the “conspiracy” to oust his government and reiterated that fair and transparent elections were the “only way out” of the crises the country was facing.

Addressing a huge rally in Dir, he said, “We ask the neutrals … when your work is to defend the country and it was discovered that this cipher had come and [US Assistant Secretary of State for Central and South Asia] Donald Lu told our ambassador to oust Imran Khan … when the National Security Committee (NSC) said interference happened and issued a demarche to the US, was it not the work of those whose job it is to defend the country to stop this conspiracy instead of being neutral?”

Imran has claimed that a US-backed regime change was the reason his government was ousted. He has called for sacking Lu, who he accuses of telling Pakistan’s former ambassador to the US, Asad Majeed, that a failure to remove the PTI government through a no-confidence vote would herald “consequences” for Pakistan.

During his address today, the PTI chairman also lashed out at incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and asked him why he had “participated” in the conspiracy if he could not govern.

At the start of his speech, Imran appreciated the crowd’s enthusiasm, telling them he had decided to start the rally early when he came to know the ground had been filled by 2:30pm.

He claimed that the US, Israel and India were involved in the conspiracy to oust his government and “impose” Shehbaz on the country not because the incumbent prime minister had “any capabilities but because he would obey all orders from his masters”.

Shehbaz had taken the first order from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) by raising the prices of fuel and electricity, he said, alleging that the US was behind the move.

“He (Shehbaz) increased inflation so much. No one who has any humanity could do this. He increased the prices of petrol … by Rs60.”

Imran alleged that the IMF had also pressured his government to increase fuel and electricity prices by Rs10 but he had instead decreased them by Rs10 per litre and Rs4 per unit, respectively. “Imran will live and die in Pakistan. He does not bow before anyone.”

The PTI government wanted to protect the people from the impact of global inflation, he said.

“When prices are raised, salaried people cannot afford monthly expenses. Everything becomes expensive such as transport and school fees. That is why we had [maintained fuel prices] to protect people.”