Pakistan's ousted prime minister Imran Khan was so desperate to cling to power that he "begged" the military establishment till the last minute to save his government, ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz vice president Maryam Nawaz has alleged.
The powerful army has ruled coup-prone Pakistan for more than half of its 75 years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
However, it had distanced itself from the recent high voltage political tussle between Shehbaz Sharif and Khan, saying it has nothing to do with politics.
"Imran Khan was so desperate that he, till his last minutes in power, had begged the establishment to save his government. He even had requested former president and Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari to help him in the wake of a no-confidence motion against him," Maryam said at a workers' convention in Lahore late Tuesday night.
The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz leader was referring to Khan's desperate efforts to delay the vote on no-confidence against him till the Supreme Court opened midnight on April 10 and ordered him to let the constitutional process complete.
Khan was removed as the prime minister on April 10 through a no-confidence vote moved by the Opposition in the National Assembly, becoming the first Pakistani premier to be ousted by Parliament in the coup-prone country.
Maryam is tasked by her father and three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif to hold rallies, especially in Punjab to counter Khan's public power shows.
Sharif -- against whom several corruption cases were launched by the previous Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf government led by Khan -- had left for London in November 2019 after the Lahore High Court granted him a four-week permission allowing him to go abroad for his treatment.
The new PMLN-led coalition government recently issued a new passport to Sharif, paving the way for his return to the country. The Sharif family, however, has declared that the decision on the return of the 72-year-old PML-N supremo will be taken at an appropriate time.
Maryam told the charged workers that the days of trouble for Khan had begun.
"Imran Khan is crying that Nawaz Sharif has ended his government while sitting in London. Imagine what state of mind Imran will be in when Nawaz returns," she said, terming her father "a long race horse".
"It was Nawaz's art of politics that after three-and-a-half years he managed to send Khan back to the container. It will be better for Khan to play cricket as politics is not his cup of tea," Maryam said.
The firebrand PML-N leader said the ousted premier's corruption stories would come to fore soon.
"Soon Khan along with his cabinet members will be behind bars on irrefutable corruption charges," she declared.
Maryam said Khan tried to run the country through 'jadu tona (witchcraft)'. She said his wife Bushra Bibi's friend Farah Gogi was involved in massive corruption at their behest and Khan helped him flee the country.
Terming the ousted prime minister as 'Tosha Khan', Maryam said Khan sold Pakistan's respect by selling gifts he received as premier from other heads of the state.
"This man talks about the country's sovereignty and on the other hand sells Toshakhana (national treasury) gifts in Dubai's open market. He should be ashamed of this act in which he got over Rs 180 million (by selling gifts)," Maryam said.