In his address today, Imran reiterated his anti-government statements along with his unwavering demand for the resignation of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. On stage by his side was veteran politician and senior PTI leader Javed Hashmi, who said he joined Khan because he could not bear to see him alone.
“I was in the hospital,” said the frail 66-year-old Hashmi, his voice quivering. “Could not watch Imran standing alone so came here.”
Hashmi also reiterated PTI’s call for the resignation of Nawaz and Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.
Encamped at D-chowk for 10 days, Khan is usually flanked by prominent PTI figures during his public appearances, including Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Dr Arif Alvi, Jahangir Tareen and Asad Umer.
However, with Qureshi and Alvi scheduled to speak at a Karachi sit-in at 5pm today, Khan — although apparently defiant and charged — was speaking on a stage that is growing less crowded.
Participants at the PTI’s protracted sit-in in the heart of Islamabad are also growing weary. While the rally witnesses a significant swell in numbers as the sun sets and music begins, journalists on the ground put the number of attendees in the day time at a few hundred.
Party insiders requesting anonymity say that Khan’s unflinching resistance to negotiate with the government on anything other than the prime minister’s resignation betrays his helplessness over bringing a favourable conclusion to what he had billed as a “million man march”. Some believe that despite the stalemate arising from the government’s refusal to accept his demand, Khan is pressing on for the crowd.
“Any commitments that happen in the background can change according to the mood of the crowd,” a party official requesting anonymity had told as Khan approached the capital. “A leader feeds off the energy of his supporters, and the workers are gaining strength in numbers.”
Two weeks later today, Khan reiterated allegations that Nawaz Sharif had orchestrated the biggest election rigging ever to be witnessed in history. He also said that he would announce his ‘future course of action’.
Imran demanded that those who had stolen the people’s mandate should be dealt with as per Article 6 of the Constitution.
He said if Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thought that protesters would remain quiet, then he was under a false impression. The PTI chief said that they were not hindering anyone’s way and were only protesting in a small corner.