‘A Pakistani cricketer-turned-politician on Sunday called on thousands of anti-government protesters to stop paying taxes and practice civil disobedience until Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif steps down, raising fears of instability in the nuclear-armed U.S. ally.
Imran Khan, who heads Parliament’s third largest bloc, made the announcement at a rally in the capital calling for Sharif to step down over alleged voting fraud in the May 2013 election, the first democratic transfer of power in a country with a long history of military dictatorships.
Khan also warned that his supporters would take over Parliament if Sharif does not resign within two days.
“We decide today that we will not pay taxes to his illegitimate government, we will not pay electricity bills, gas bills,” Khan said to a charged crowd estimated at 10,000 to 15,000 people. “I urge all the traders to stop paying taxes.”
Khan and cleric Tahir-ul-Qadri, a dual Canadian citizen with a wide following who spends most of his time abroad, have mounted twin protests that have brought thousands of people into the streets in Islamabad. They accuse Sharif of rigging the election that brought him to power.’