Imran Khan, Pakistan’s Azadi March to Overthrow Prime Minister, 2014. The Azadi protest of 2014, often referred to as the Sunami March or the “freedom march,” was a large protest in Pakistan from August 14 to December 17, 2014. The march was organized by the Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf party, which is opposed to Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif over claims of widespread election manipulation by the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N) in the 2013 general election that was then put up for reelection. PTI took home one of the three seats out of the four that were sought after.
Imran Khan, the party’s leader, announced plans for an August march from Lahore to Islamabad alongside a group of protesters at a PTI jalsa (demonstration) in Bahawalpur on June 27, 2014. Khan canceled the rally on December 17, one day following the 2014 Peshawar school shooting.
Background for the Azadi March Imran khan(PTI)
The Pakistan Tahreek-e-Insaf (PTI) cricket player Imran Khan tentatively accepted the election results in the wake of allegations of widespread vote rigging in the 2013 general election but demanded an investigation into election fraud in four constituencies as a bellwether for the remainder of the election. The PTI organized multiple salsas across Punjab, the political bastion of PM Nawaz Sharif, in response to government inaction.
In August 2014, Khan claimed that the PTI had attempted to use legal measures for 14 months to bring the fraud’s perpetrators to justice. Despite the party producing a 2,100-page white paper with proof of vote-rigging, the government did nothing. Khan asserts that the supreme court would have declared the results invalid and called for new elections in any democracy. The Supreme Court did little after former Election Commission of Pakistan Additional Secretary Afzal Khan also claimed fraud. The petition was rejected because there was insufficient evidence to support Afzal Khan’s allegations, which the court ultimately determined were untrue.
Khan expressed displeasure with the country’s court system’s lack of initiative and how the election commission handled his charges during the salsas. The PTI declared the launch of its anti-corruption effort on April 22, 2014.
Khan and Qadri didn’t combine their protest marches as was anticipated, nor did they denounce one another. On August 10, Qadri declared that his party’s independent march, the Inqilab March, would take place concurrently with the PTI’s Protest. Because the demonstrations were planned on distinct routes mirrored each other, it soon became clear that the parties had similar goals but different approaches.
Speculation about a potential PTI-PAT collaboration arose as opposition parties announced parallel marches. Although the party never stated a formal alliance, there was an informal understanding to support one another. On August 11, Qadri and Khan announced that there would be two unofficially allied marches to advocate overthrowing the Sharif administration.
Government’s reaction to Imran Khan Azadi March
The government referred to Khan’s demand as “undemocratic” and a plot to “derail democracy” when he announced a protest march. Mian Iftikhar Hussain, a former provincial minister and provincial general secretary of the Awami National Party (ANP), voiced worry that Khan’s long march might jeopardize Pakistan’s democracy; if the system were to be damaged, the PTI chairman would be accountable. Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of former chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, accused Khan of violating articles 62 and 63 of Pakistan’s constitution by keeping the existence of his love child, Tyrian, a secret after making numerous speeches condemning the march.
International response Imran Khan Azadi March
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said in a statement that the British government “fully [supported] a democratic Pakistan and the use of democratic institutions to resolve political differences” as the PAT and PTI chiefs announced their intention to enter the Pakistani Parliament building. Hammond continued, “He hopes all Pakistani political groups may cooperate under the Constitution to amicably settle the current political problems.”A Financial Times article from August 31, 2014, stated that protesters attempting to invade Nawaz Sharif’s main residence were armed with wire cutters and wooden clubs. At least three individuals were reported dead and hundreds injured when police used rubber bullets, tear gas, and batons during clashes. According to the article, many elected lawmakers believe that Pakistan’s army generals encouraged Khan and Qadri’s demonstrations to gain more influence over Sharif’s administration or to overthrow it.
Why does Imran Khan’s Azadi March in Islamabad indicate that his political career may still have some life left?
The former prime minister of Pakistan declared the end of his protest march as his supporters fought with police in front of the Parliament in Islamabad.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman has already urged the government to dissolve the assemblies and call for new elections to avoid further unrest.
While many were eager to write Imran’s political career off after his dismissal, this is not the first time he has held office.
Examining what Imran has up his sleeve—from protests to appeals to young people and conspiracy theories—is as follows:
Both then and now protests against Imran Khan
Marvi Sirmed in The Times of India, he “has been on a mission to polarise society and worsen the internal rifts ailing the country ever since he was shoved out of power.”
Which comes directly from his playbook.
Remember that Imran’s political ascent to Pakistan’s highest office in 2018 was made possible by the 2014 Azadi march, which transformed him from a well-known figure to a political force.
A rally was conducted on Pakistan’s 67th Independence Day by activists and supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-E-Insaf and Pakistan Awami Tehrik to demand an investigation into claims of election rigging in 2013.
According to the Indian Express, the campaign went on for a record-breaking 126 days and was covered by the media nonstop. Additionally, the demonstration was not just attended by PTI party members; reports indicate that women, students, and the general populace of Pakistan also took part (more than a million people are said to have taken part in the Azadi March).
That movement, which seemed to go on forever, was only halted in December 2014 when a terror assault in Peshawar claimed the lives of 141 people, including 132 children.
According to Umair Jamal in The Diplomat, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) has regenerated its support base to such an extent that it is now widely thought that if free and fair elections are held, the PTI will triumph.
“The enormous support for Khan’s party within the state institutions is one of the main reasons that his political career may still be far from over.” He has demonstrated that you can increase your chances of returning to power if you have backing from state institutions and can cast doubt on their leadership.
Popular among young people Imran Khan Azadi March
Although Imran’s failure to improve the nation’s catastrophic economic circumstances, including its debilitating debt, diminishing foreign currency reserves, and skyrocketing inflation, was a factor in the Opposition parties’ decision to bring him down, his support among young people has not wavered.
In an article for The Times of India, Ashali Varma wrote, “As I write this, Imran Khan is perhaps the most popular political leader in Pakistan.” “Not because he has delivered much in the three plus years he has been in power, but because the political parties and the establishment are on the back foot.”
Because, as he claims, he was not allowed to serve out his entire time as PM, Imran has been able to rally the youth and many others behind him.
Since being ousted, he has been able to draw sizable numbers to every rally held by his party, from Peshawar to Lahore. His advice to them is rather consistent. It is about how Jinnah created Pakistan as an Islamic nation and how he highlights the concept of Pakistan in each of his speeches: Pakistan ka Matlab kya, La illaha Illal Allah. It translates to signify that there is only one God, who is Allah.