Ahead of the no-confidence motion against Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan, up to 20,000 people gathered in Parade Ground in Islamabad on Sunday in a show of strength, AFP reported, citing police officials.
Addressing one of the largest rally in the capital, the cricketer-turned-politician alleged that a “foreign conspiracy” was behind the no-confidence motion and claimed that funds from abroad are being channelled into Pakistan for this purpose.
“Attempts are being made through foreign money to change the government in Pakistan,” said Khan, according to Times of India. “Our people are being used. We are being threatened in writing, but we will not comprise on national interest.”
At the rally, Khan also showed his supporters a piece of paper, claiming that it was a letter threatening to destabilise his government and a proof that the country’s foreign policy is being externally manipulated.
The paper is yet to be verified as a threat. Khan refused to read the letter aloud, saying it is against the interest of national security.
Khan also blamed the Opposition for allegedly bribing his party members to support the no-confidence motion against him. He described the Opposition as “rats” who have “looted Pakistan for 30 years,” reported News18.
“India went ahead of us,” said the prime minister. “Even Bangladesh left us behind. All of this happened since the thieves ruled.”
Criticising Nawaz Sharif, Khan alleged that the former prime minister has offshore bank accounts in London.
Khan also told the crowd that the dissent against him started as he opposed the National Reconciliation Ordinance, reported Times of India.
“I don’t give them the National Reconciliation Ordinance because my Phrophet had explained that nations get destroyed when you punish the poor and exempt the rich,” said Khan. He promised that his government will tax the rich and give the money to the poor.
The no-confidence motion against Khan will be tabled on Monday, after which seven days of debate is expected to take place before an actual vote.
More than 24 members of his ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party have threatened to vote against Khan during the no-confidence motion. These MPs are reportedly staying in a guest house in the country’s Sindh province, which is ruled by the Opposition Pakistan People Party.
The Opposition has alleged that Khan has failed to control inflation in the country and was responsible for the economic crisis in Pakistan.
Political analysts said that the country’s military is also disenchanted with his leadership. In 2018 national elections, Khan was elected to power amid allegations that the military had supported him.
Pakistan is seeing major protests by Opposition parties, as well as demonstrations in support of Khan. On Monday, the Pakistan Democratic Movement, an alliance of opposition parties, is holding protests in Islamabad against Khan, reported The Hindu.
Another protest against the prime minister started from Lahore on Saturday and is led by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice Presidents Maryam Nawaz and her cousin Hamza Shehbaz. They are to reach Islamabad on Monday.