MRITYUNJOY KUMAR JHA
New Delhi, April 3: Finally, Pakistan’s “loser” Prime Minister, Imran Khan, admitted that he lost to the united opposition, but would not concede defeat.
“I cannot even think about resigning and as far as the no-confidence vote is concerned, I believe in fighting till the end,” beleaguered PM Imran Khan told ARY News of Pakistan, signalling that he would only go down kicking-and-screaming.
Khan “confirmed” the reports that he was in touch with the top leadership of the military establishment headed by Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and the establishment had suggested three options.
“They had given three options – resignation, no-confidence (vote) or early elections. I told him (Bajwa) that I am ready for early elections but I cannot even think about resigning and as far as the no-confidence vote is concerned,” Khan told the channel.
When he was asked if it was he who had approached the establishment for “face saving exit”, Khan said ruefully: “As long as ‘establishment’ continues to settle matters, then who is the Prime Minister, what difference does it make.”
Khan’s interview was like his address to the nation on March 31, full of rhetoric, and little substance. After blaming an international conspiracy to oust him, Khan himself has doubled down with public statements that he fears an attempt on his life.
“Wrong things are being spread against my family. My wife’s character is being assassinated and my life is also in danger,” said Khan.
Desperate times call for desperate moves. Knowing that he is to go down on Sunday, the egoistic Khan has been making a futile bid to remain in power.
According to insiders, Imran Khan is considering resigning along with all his members from the Pakistani National Assembly on Sunday after losing the no-confidence vote.
If Khan’s 155 ruling party members resign from the National Assembly, the new government will be in “jeopardy”. It will be difficult to hold such a large number of by-elections. The same exercise will be conducted simultaneously in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces where Khan’s party is in power. The new government will have no other choice other than immediate elections and Khan thinks that going to the polls immediately will benefit him.
Khan has already prohibited his members from participating in the no-confidence vote.
But the question is, will his party members agree to his plan, for a mass revolt against a sinking Khan is not inconceivable? With the momentum building against Khan, most in his party may not be inclined to go to early polls. Many “disgruntled” members are apparently in touch with the opposition and may decide to rebel against Imran Khan.
The Opposition claims that they have 199 members so far and there is no reason to believe they can’t muster a bigger number on Sunday.
The opposition leaders have also approached the various security agencies including the army to ensure the security of every parliamentarian irrespective of party affiliation when they go to the Assembly on Sunday. Referring to Khan’s calls to gather 100,000 supporters outside the Assembly on Sunday when voting will be held on the no-confidence move, the opposition leader and the prime ministerial candidate Shehbaz Sharif, in his letter to chiefs of security agencies, said that any such gathering would be in blatant violation of order dated March 18 that prohibits gathering of five or more persons inside the Red Zone under Section 144 of the CrPC. He warned that any such gathering would inevitably provoke other parties to bring their own supporters for self-protection, which might lead to bloodshed and chaos in the capital.
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