Ousted prime minister Imran Khan has given the PML-N-led federal government a six-day ultimatum to dissolve the assemblies and announce fresh elections.
Pakistan brimmed with intense political activity that began on Wednesday and carried well into the wee hours of Thursday. PTI’s Azadi March had officially kicked off on Wednesday with thousands of Pakistanis marching with PTI leaders towards Islamabad.
The PML-N government, in a bid to stop the long march, mobilized security forces who resorted to shelling and baton charges against the public. Islamabad’s D-Chowk turned into a battleground. Pakistan witnessed horrible scenes of violence during that time.
Amid the chaos, Imran Khan reached Islamabad late Wednesday and addressed the party workers. The PTI chief warned that he will return to Islamabad along with millions of people if the government fails to announce the date for elections. Imran Khan also demanded the assemblies be dissolved forthwith.
“My message for the imported government is to dissolve assemblies and announce elections. Otherwise, I will come back again to Islamabad after six days,” he said.
“They want a fight between us and police. I am giving you 6 days if you don't announce elections I will come back to Islamabad again with all Pakistanis”-@ImranKhanPTI #حقیقی_آزادی_مارچ pic.twitter.com/oY1pvHTYIM
— PTI (@PTIofficial) May 26, 2022
Masterstroke or big mistake?
Imran Khan’s decision to categorically end the Azadi March for almost a week has divided the public. While some are supporting it, there are PTI supporters as well who have expressed disappointment in the decision.
According to those against the decision, Imran Khan should not have called off the long march so quickly. Furthermore, they said the public made great sacrifices to reach Islamabad which now will go to waste.
As per reports, four PTI workers lost their lives as a result of police brutality during the march. In addition to this, the protestors also had to endure the tear gas shelling and police beatings, all under the sweltering sun.
Bad bad bad decision!!! Wth was that?? People put so much effort! All gone to waste?! At least he should’ve stayed there for a day!
— Fatima Noor (@FatimaNoor2) May 26, 2022
Meanwhile, those in favor of the decision called it a masterstroke and urged others to have faith in Imran Khan. Moreover, they said Imran Khan has shown the government what he is capable of in terms of street power. This is indeed true. The police forces resorted to severe violence to disperse the crowd. However, the crowd refused to back down.
By giving an ultimatum, Imran Khan has put pressure on the government to hold early elections. Otherwise, the government will once again have to face the same situation it did on Wednesday after a week, which will undeniably result in more public anger towards the government.
A very wise, prudent & contemplative decsion by Imran Khan. Best strategy at a battle ground is: "Never shut ALL the doors on your opponent but leave one Open so he can run". The door of "6 day Ultimatum" is intentionally left opened so they have face saving & can run!!
— حکیم پهکی (@HakeemPhakki) May 26, 2022
Masterstroke by Imran Khan
Excellent strategy that If elections aren't announced within 6 days he will come back with his whole nation for sit-in in Islamabad
He has shown the power of his nation, to power corridors, massive public support a trait unique to him #حقیقی_آزادی_مارچ
— Ghulam Fatima (@ghulamfatima03) May 26, 2022
On the other hand, critics of Imran Khan are claiming that the PTI Chairman succumbed to government pressure and may have struck a deal – a narrative rejected by PTI.