Imran Khan addresses rally in show of force as he faces vote of no confidence

Mr Khan accused ‘thieves’ of looting the country after series of defections from his party

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Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan spoke on Sunday at a rally aimed at garnering popular support after opposition parties submitted a no-confidence motion against him.

They have accused him of being responsible for the country’s economic crisis.

The motion, originally scheduled for Friday, was adjourned by the parliament’s speaker and moved to Monday.

Mr Khan arrived at the Islamabad Parade Grounds by helicopter at 6pm.

In a political counterattack, he directed remarks at some Pakistani politicians who have assets abroad, likening them to “three mice” who have exploited the country for three decades.

Mr Khan pointed fingers at what he called external forces, and said they aimed to “disrupt” Pakistan’s internal affairs.

He also called for a return to a welfare state, saying a similar political-economic model had flourished under the Prophet Mohammed.

“We’ll take tax from rich and give it to poor,” Mr Khan said.

After a series of defections from his party, he said opponents had tried to “purchase” MPs who were loyal to him.

Shortly before the rally began, a formerly close ally of Mr Khan, Jamhoori Watan Party head Shahzain Bugti, said he would support the motion of no confidence against him.

An International Monetary Fund review on the next tranche of a $6 billion rescue package was due to take place last week but has yet to occur.

Updated: March 28, 2022, 7:17 AM