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Imran’s outlook

“Attempts are being made,” he said, “with foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know the places from where attempts are being made to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing, but we won’t compromise on national interest”.

Statesman News Service | Kolkata |

It is a war of nerves between the establishment in Islamabad and the Opposition in the National Assembly. Though the vote on the no-confidence motion, tabled on Monday, is scheduled for the first week of April, Imran Khan has blamed what he calls “outside forces’’ for plotting to remove his government, and destabilize the country’s torpid economy.

The Pakistan Prime Minister stopped short of naming any country at what has been billed as the biggest rally of his relatively fledgling party in Islamabad. Mr Khan convened the rally to ratchet up public support for his Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf (PTI) party after the Opposition challenged him with a no-trust motion in the National Assembly on 8 March.

“Attempts are being made,” he said, “with foreign money to change the government in Pakistan. Our people are being used. Mostly inadvertently, but some people are using money against us. We know the places from where attempts are being made to pressure us. We have been threatened in writing, but we won’t compromise on national interest”.

The beleaguered Prime Minister claimed that he had evidence to substantiate his prognosis. There is little doubt that he is currently engaged in a high-voltage campaign with a twin objective, specifically to debunk the Opposition before the critical trial of strength and to prepare the ground for his campaign should fresh elections take place. The country, he said, wants to know who the former PM, Nawaz Sharif, is meeting in London; and whose instructions the political class in Pakistan is following.

At the start of his 90-minute speech, he iterated his searing epithets against the Opposition ~ “corrupt, stooges, rats, thieves and dacoits”. Some commentators in Pakistan believe the rhetoric suggests Mr. Khan is preparing to be ousted. As it turns out, Mr Khan suffered yet another setback ahead of the no-trust motion. His special aide on reconciliation and harmony in Balochistan, resigned from his cabinet on Sunday.

Shahzain Bugti, leader of the Jamhoori Watan Party, is said to have addressed a joint press conference with the Pakistan People’s Party chairman, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, alleging that the government has disappointed the people of Balochistan. The other cavil was the escalation of insurgency in the border province during the negligent tenure of the PTI government. This is said to have happened when thousands of supporters of Nawaz Sharif’s daughter,

Maryam Nawaz, and his nephew, Hamaz Shehbaz, were leading the PML-N rally from their political bastion of Lahore to Islamabad. Besides, rallies of the Maulana Fazlur-ur-Rahman-led Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (F) have marched to the capital from different parts of Pakistan. With days left for the vote on the no-confidence motion, the Prime Minister’s PTI is a decidedly fractured entity not the least because no fewer than 30 legislators of the party have announced their support to the opposition.