(Eds: Updating with more inputs)
Islamabad, Oct 24 (PTI) A defiant Imran Khan has vowed not to step down as Pakistan Prime Minister despite the Opposition mounting pressure on him and dismissed the next week's planned mega sit-in as agenda-driven, saying it has sent a wave of joy in India even as he claimed that the army backs him.
The Azadi March in Islamabad on October 31 will be led by Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) chief Fazlur Rehman. All major Opposition parties including the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of jailed former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the Pakistan Peoples Party of former president Asif Ali Zardari have announced their support.
Fazl has demanded Khan's resignation, alleging that the election held in July, 2018 was rigged to help his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party.
Geo News reported that Khan's, in a meeting with journalists and analysts, said he sees a conspiracy behind Fazl's protest which he said is driven by a certain agenda.
"There is no question of my resignation and I will not resign. Dharna is agenda based, and it has foreign support," he was quoted as saying in the report.
Khan was of the view that the JUI-F's plan to protest has sent a wave of joy in India.
"I don't understand what Maulana's (Fazl) problem is. I don't understand the agenda of the opposition," he said, adding that inflation and unemployment remain a big problem which his government is trying to resolve.
He alleged the Azadi March was backed by foreign elements.
"Let me be very clear that I will not resign on the Opposition's demand," the premier said.
Khan said at first India was against the 'maulanas' but now the Indians were celebrating the idea of Fazl's protest.
"Look at how the Indian media is celebrating Maulana Fazl's protest," he said.
Khan said the Pakistan Army stands behind him and it fully supports the government agenda, the News International reported.
The civil-military relations are based on trust and both enjoy this trust on each other, the premier said, adding that he will never leave the country.
Khan said the protest will damage the Kashmir cause as attention will be diverted from the lockdown in the Valley.
"We must think who will benefit from all of this," he said.
Khan said when he had staged a massive sit-in against then prime minister Nawaz Sharif's regime in August 2014, he had evidence of election rigging in four constituencies.
"We came out on the streets after exhausting all possible options … which platform Maulana has used (to address his grievances) before coming out on streets?" he asked. PTI CPS AKJ CPS