Sharif pursuing Modi's interests in Pakistan: Imran Khan
PTI chief Imran Khan has pledged to bring a million people on streets during the Nov 2 lockdown in Islamabad to 'protest against corruption' Photograph: (Reuters)
Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan yesterday accused Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif of pursuing his Indian counterpart Narendra Modi’s interests in the country after the government cracked the whip on his supporters, news agency Press Trust of India reported.
At least 100 supporters of Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were arrested on Sunday.
"About 450 people entered Islamabad today," Pakistan's interior minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan was quoted as saying by Iran's television network, Press TV Iran.
"Police intercepted them but most of them ran away, many leaving their cars behind. Police arrested more than 100 of them," he added.
According to media reports, police resorted to force and used tear-gas and baton to stop the PTI activists from reaching Bani Gala residence of Khan in Pak's capital, Islamabad. However, no PTI worker suffered serious injuries.
Meanwhile, the PTI chief lashed out at the government saying: “When Nawaz Sharif went to London for whatever kind of surgery, he on the hospital bed first telephoned Modi instead of his mother or children.”
Addressing a press conference outside his Bani Gala residence here, he was referring to Sharif’s open heart surgery at a London hospital in May, news agency PTI reported.
A day after Pakistan information minister Pervaiz Rashid was sacked over the recent “leaked” media report about a rift between the civilian and military leaderships on support to militancy, Khan took a jibe at the Nawaz Sharif government.
“Nawaz is following Modi’s ‘interests’ in Pakistan. Nawaz is behind the security leaks story which defamed the armed forces. Actually, his and Modi’s agenda is same,” Khan was quoted as saying.
He claimed that "everybody knows" that the sacked minister cannot leak sensitive information to the media on his own.
“Rashid is a darbari (courtier) and he did what Nawaz told him to do so."
“The whole state machinery is being used to save a corrupt Prime Minister. I will not accept a ‘suspect’ as Prime Minister of Pakistan. As long as I am alive I will not go after Nawaz Sharif’s corruption,” the 64-year-old political leader told the press.
Khan went on to say that there was no difference between Pervez Musharraf’s dictatorship and Sharif’s democracy.
Meanwhile, Islamabad police said they recovered five Kalashnikov rifles, a pistol, six magazines, a bulletproof vest, alcohol and three tear gas shells from PTI leader Amin Gandapur’s car outside Bani Gala.
'Mass protests no danger to democracy'
A lockdown has been announced by Khan's PTI in a bid to create pressure on Sharif to resign over Panama Papers' revelations about his family's offshore wealth.
While talking to international news agency Reuters, Khan dismissed accusations that the November 2 shutdown in Islamabad can lead to a military coup.
"How can a democrat want the military to come in?," Khan was quoted as saying by Reuters as he dismissed allegations that he wanted the army to topple Sharif.
"He has to answer. He can't hide behind `democracy in danger`."
Khan has pledged to bring a million people out on roads to "protest against corruption".
However, the Pakistan government has accused Khan of endangering democracy by attempting to draw Pakistan`s powerful military into a political dispute, Reuters reported.
In a bid to foil the protests, the government has already blocked provincial roads to the capital and arrested around 1,000 Pakistan Tahreek-i-Insaf workers so far.
(WION with inputs from Reuters, PTI)