Ousted PM warns he will bring his supporters to capital Islamabad as he hosts third massive public gathering since losing power to ratchet up pressure on new Shehbaz Sharif government.
Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan has demanded fresh elections amid political turmoil after a new government took over and warned it faces an enormous challenge to revive a battered economy.
"Whoever has made a mistake, there's only one way to correct it that hold elections as soon as possible," Khan told a large rally of tens of thousands of people in the eastern city of Lahore –– the third such huge public gathering since he lost power to ratchet up pressure on the new government.
Khan asked his supporters to be ready for his call to march toward the capital Islamabad if his demand to call fresh elections was delayed.
"Wait for my call," he said.
Khan along with his over 100 lawmakers in the lower house of the parliament resigned after he lost a vote of confidence moved by a united opposition, that blamed him for mismanaging the economy, governance and foreign relations.
Although Khan, a cricket star turned politician, has claimed that the United States was behind his downfall, an assertion that Washington denies, he had lately fallen out with the country's military over differences for the appointment of country's top intelligence chief.
READ MORE: Pakistan army distances itself from Imran Khan's claim of 'US conspiracy'
Lahore roaring! #LahoreJalsa pic.twitter.com/XSuI0Qylon— Siasat.pk (@siasatpk) April 21, 2022
Defiant on stance
New Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif on Tuesday appointed a multi-party coalition cabinet made up of former political rivals in opposition who united to oust Khan.
The military has directly ruled the country for almost half its nearly 75-year history. It viewed Khan and his conservative agenda favourably when he won the election in 2018, but that support waned over the appointment and economic troubles.
Khan has remained defiant so far, rejecting the opposition's accusations as part of a US conspiracy to topple him just because he went ahead to visit Russia against a warning from Washington.
"We wanted to bring oil at a 30 percent discount from Russia," said Khan, who was in Moscow the day Russia attacked Ukraine, adding that his plans included buying wheat and gas as well.
READ MORE: Tens of thousands hit Pakistani streets to protest Imran Khan's ouster