Pakistan's opposition leader Imran Khan on Monday threatened to 'shut down' the entire country by December 16 if the Nawaz Sharif Government failed to initiate an impartial probe into the alleged rigging in 2013 general elections.
The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief, in a rally here outside the Parliament, said that his protest will continue till the government initiate an inquiry into the "massive rigging" in last year's general elections, which saw Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) win by a landslide.
"The ball is in your court, Nawaz Sharif — do your talks, do your investigations and solve the issue. We will close Pakistan down when December 16 comes, and what I do after that you will not be able to bear it...It has been 109 days and Naya Pakistan is waking up every day. We can all see it," Khan was quoted as saying by Dawn. "On Thursday (December 4), I will go to Lahore and shut it down.
On December 8 I will shut down Faisalabad, on December 12 I will go to Karachi and shut it down. By December 16 I will shut down all of Pakistan if the poll inquiry is not initiated," Khan said. The cricketer-turned-politician has been holding protest-rallies in different cities to spread his movement, demanding a probe into the allegations of rigging the election.
Khan had launched his protest in mid-August, demanding Sharif's ouster, but he later withdrew his main demand of the Prime Minister's resignation ahead of the probe and offered the government to constitute a judicial commission comprising Supreme Court judges, ISI and Military Intelligence officials, to investigate the reported rigging. December 16 is considered as a tragic day in the history of Pakistan as the country lost its eastern wing after a war with India when its army surrendered and Bangladesh emerged as an independent country. The PTI leader said that if his demand for the impartial inquiry of the elections was not met, he would make the functioning of government "impossible".
He alleged that the Nawaz Sahrif government is promoting corruption and politics of patronage. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister's spokesman, Mussadik Malik said that it was "unfortunate" that Khan had threatened to "shut down" the country. "What he want to achieve through it. I urge him to leave the politics of agitation and enter into a meaningful dialogue to achieve his objectives," he said. Minister for Railways Saad Rafiq said such announcements cannot be made by a patriotic person. "Imran wants to spread anarchy and derail democracy in the disguise of bringing true democracy," he said.