Imran Khan on Sunday warned that Nawaz Sharif will be responsible if a “third-force” stepped in as a result of his party’s lockdown of the Pakistani capital next week demanding resignation of the prime minister over corruption charges arising from publication of ‘Panama Papers’.
“One person will be responsible if democracy is derailed,” Khan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman said while referring to Sharif as he addressed the media outside his Bani Gala residence.
He did not mention which force or institution would be derailing democracy following the protest planned on November 2 but clarified that, “We (Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf) are not doing this to bring in a ‘third force’.”
Although the cricketer-turned-politician did not name the “third force”, his statement seemed to refer to the powerful military establishment, a key player in Pakistani politics.
He accused the government of defaming Pakistan Army on the pretext of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s protest. “In a democratic country, the prime minister is accountable to the people. However, Nawaz only wants to save his wealth,” he was quoted as saying by the media.
Panama Papers are not accusations but evidence of prime minister’s corruption, he claimed.
Taking a jibe at Pakistan Peoples Party, Khan said: “Those who call themselves opposition are defending Nawaz to save their own faces.”
Commenting on the hearing of Panamagate Scandal in the Supreme Court on November 1, Khan said while the apex court may sentence the prime minister, his party was only demanding Sharif’s resignation for a fair investigation.
“Protest is our democratic right and the government will have to face severe consequences if it tries to stop us,” he warned.
On Saturday, Khan’s party won ‘unconditional support’ of the PML- Q for its November 2 sit-in in the capital.
Together, the two parties decided to approach the Pakistan Awami Tehreek of Dr Tahirul Qadri, which “is likely to join the protest,” Express Tribune reported.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has also prepared a strategy to tackle the sit-in and any possible crackdown against the party, Dawn newspaper reported.
If Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers are arrested ahead of the lockdown of the capital city, the party plans to lay siege to the police station where they will be held, the report said.
Earlier this week, Prime Minister Sharif criticised the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, saying the party’s leaders are only found on containers.
“Forget about Pakistan, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf will have washed their hands of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa by 2018,” he said, adding that the province would be ruled by the PML-N after the next election.
Imran responded to the premier’s statements, demanding a response to accusations of corruption levelled against Nawaz and his family after Panamagate.
“2018 is far away. Nawaz has to answer now on the Panama leaks,” Imran said.
Sharif and some of his family members are accused of illegally transferring money abroad after the Panama Papers leaks showed his family of possessing properties in the UK.
Sharif and his family have dismissed the allegations of money laundering and denied any wrongdoing