London: Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan says his party would sweep the May 11 General Elections in Pakistan as more young people, fed up with the status quo, are likely to cast their ballot this time.
"This is a revolution. Look at them people. They are fed up with the status quo. This is an across-the-board desire for change and a fear the country won't survive unless we do. It's middle classes, young people, people who have never voted before, exactly like what happened in the Arab world. We are going to sweep this election," Imran told The Sunday Times.
An outspoken critic of US drone attacks inside Pakistan targeting Taliban and al Qaeda elements, Khan has argued that the CIA-operated unmanned aerial attacks kill thousands of civilians and stoke resentment that creates more supporters for the militants.
If elected, Imran said he would also withdraw all troops from Pakistan's tribal areas that border Afghanistan. The comment is likely to upset the US, as Washington has been trying to persuade Pakistani military to act against safe havens for militants in the tribal belts in North Waziristan province.
"We never had a problem with the tribal areas until General (Pervez) Musharraf sent troops in in 2004," Imran said. "They are like a bull in a China shop and have taken us into a never-ending war."
Echoing Imran's views, former prime minister and PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif told the Times that "drones are mostly killing innocent people. They are making the situation worse rather than better. If I am elected, I will tell the Americans that clearly this is counterproductive, threatening our sovereignty and must stop."
Asked how he would achieve this, given that drones do not fly from Pakistan territory, Sharif replied: "They want our co-operation on things, well we won't do what they want."