Pakistan opposition leader Khan calls for march to Islamabad

FILE PHOTO: Ousted Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan gestures as he addresses supporters during a rally, in Lahore, Pakistan April 21, 2022. REUTERS/Mohsin Raza/File Photo

KARACHI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistan’s opposition leader and former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday announced the date of a march to Islamabad to demand dissolution of assemblies and a date for elections, as the South Asian nation continues to slide into political and economic crisis.

Former premier Imran Khan, who was ousted in a confidence vote last month was blamed for mishandling the economy.

“I will meet you in Islamabad’s at Srinagar Highway on 25th,” opposition leader Khan told a media conference on Sunday.

I want all you to head out in such a manner that you reach there at 3 p.m., he added.

Khan has been holding rallies around the country following his ouster, blaming the United States for conspiring against his government.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government is yet to implement economic policies such as curtailing costly energy subsidies, which were introduced by Khan's government in his last days in power as he faced mounting pressure over rising inflation.

“No matter how long it takes we will stay in Islamabad, until our demands of dissolution of assemblies and date of free and fair elections is announced,” Imran Khan flanked by his close associates told reporters.

"I want people from all walks of life to take part in this march. This is not politics it’s a jihad against injustice," Khan added.

Pakistan is in dire need of external financial support due to a widening current account deficit and foreign reserves falling below $10.5 billion, equivalent to less than two months of imports. [L3N2X12L5]

Talks between the government and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for the release of more from a $6 billion rescue package agreed in 2019 are underway in Doha.

(Reporting by Syed Raza Hassan; editing by Jason Neely)

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