Outside residence of Corps Commander, a person was seen instigating people & as soon as the gate opened, he disappeared from the scene, alleges Imran Khan
Says he was ready for a ‘minus-Imran’ formula if it benefited the country or saved it from destruction
Says there is no law in the country at the moment & his only hope is the judiciary
LAHORE ( Web News )
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has alleged that the recent acts of vandalism, which ensued after his arrest on May 9, were a deliberate and orchestrated scheme aimed at discrediting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, with the ultimate goal of branding it as a proscribed organisation.
Imran Khan made these remarks during a speech delivered from his residence in Zaman Park, Lahore on Saturday. According to Imran Khan, the incidents were part of a larger conspiracy to undermine PTI’s standing. “This was a well-planned conspiracy intended to weaken and eliminate PTI. The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) knows that they cannot defeat PTI in elections. Therefore, they seek to label our party as a proscribed organisation. It is unfortunate that a party that has maintained a peaceful demeanour for over 27 years is being portrayed as a terrorist entity.”
Denouncing the allegations that he failed to condemn the violent protests as a “blatant lie”, Imran Khan emphasised that during his appearance at the Supreme Court, he promptly expressed his unequivocal opposition to all forms of violence.
“I was shot, did I ever ask [party workers] to engage in violence? I mentioned the intelligence officer’s name, but did anyone do anything or set fire to any government buildings? When I got out, I came to know [about the violent protests]. I explicitly stated that I strongly condemn such actions. I have never given permission to my people to do anything other than peaceful protests,” he said.
He said that PTI workers tried to stop people who set the sabre jet on fire stationed at a roundabout in Mianwali. “We used to see it with pride. The aircraft was made of aluminum, so how did it catch fire? It was set ablaze by those who had brought something with them,” he claimed.
The former premier said that the police could have apprehended him without resorting to violence. “Was it necessary to use force and brutality? Was I sitting there as a terrorist? I am a former prime minister. They hit me on my head with a club,” he added.
He said that PTI leaders including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Yasmin Rashid and others were giving calls for a peaceful protest following his arrest.
“How did the Radio Pakistan building catch fire? The protest was happening somewhere else. Outside the residence of the Corps Commander, a person was seen instigating people, and as soon as the gate opened, he disappeared from the scene,” he alleged.
“I was arrested, and then the internet was shut down, and the media was also censored. After that, our people were apprehended. The entire senior leadership was captured, including those who were advocating for peaceful protests,” he said.
Imran Khan stated that he issued a call for a peaceful protest, urging his followers to hold placards bearing the slogans “Save Nation, Save Constitution.” However, he expressed his dismay as numerous individuals were arrested solely for holding these placards.
He highlighted that in Pakistan’s history, he had never witnessed such deplorable treatment towards women. He emphasised that peaceful protest is a constitutionally protected right of the PTI and its supporters.
“I clearly state that if any member of the PTI is found involved in burning a vehicle or engaging in any other unlawful activity, inform us, and we will present them before the court ourselves,” he added.
Imran Khan said that there is no law in the country at the moment and his only hope is the judiciary, adding that even judges are being pressured against giving relief to PTI.
He said that by not holding elections on May 14, the Constitution was broken. “The country is being run on doctrine of necessity.”
He stated that pursuing negotiations with PDM was a futile exercise as there is no intention from it to reach a positive outcome for the country. “They are aware that they will face defeat in the elections. Their objective is to render PTI incapable of contesting elections. They aim to eliminate PTI and regain power once again,” he added.
“What benefit does the delay in election bring? Will the economy miraculously improve by October? If you want to apply minus-one [formula] you may, but what will it bring? Please tell me the benefits, and I will be on board so that the country can prosper,” he said.
He emphasised that the nation is approaching a critical juncture and a point of no return, stating, “When orders are disregarded, Supreme Court decisions are ignored, and despite high court orders, Imran Riaz Khan is not produced, while 7,500 workers remain detained without being presented in court. What kind of law is this? The law of jungle is prevailing here.”
Due to the prevailing situation, he said that around 900,000 professionals have left the country, adding that the people are losing hope. “Those in power at the moment, it is your responsibility to govern this country. This is also your Pakistan,” he added.
The former prime minister said that the members of the PDM are not affected as they only benefit if the value of the dollar rises because their money is stashed abroad.
“They have billions of dollars stashed abroad, but for those who want to stay here, I am telling you that the country is heading towards destruction. There is only one way, and those who are listening to me, there is one clear path remaining: to hold fair and transparent elections. From there, our fight to rescue the country from this quagmire will begin,” he concluded.
Imran Khan said that he was ready for a “minus-Imran” formula if it benefited the country or saved it from destruction. “Minus Imran, but tell [me] how this will benefit the country,” he said.
He claimed that the countrywide riots that erupted following his arrest on May 9, in which supporters attacked military installations including the Lahore Corps Commander House and General Headquarters (GHQ) entrance, were “orchestrated under a well-thought-out conspiracy” to destroy the PTI.
Imran Khan claimed that the ruling coalition knew it could not win the general elections, which was why it “conspired” against the former ruling party.
Speaking about the days-long violence, the former prime minister questioned why the Radio Pakistan office in Peshawar was burnt down when the PTI’s protest was being held in a different area.
“Who was the person who incited people to vandalise the Lahore Corps Commander House? He disappeared afterwards,” he added.
Khan alleged that the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government wanted to hold the general elections only after PTI had been destroyed.
Referring to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s earlier statement that elections would be held in October, Khan asked: “Will our economy get better and inflation disappear in October?” “What is the benefit of holding elections in October?”
Criticising the government, the former premier claimed the government was “destroying the entire country in order to destroy one political party”.
“They have crushed the institutions. They are not obeying court orders. The police are entering homes.” The PTI chairman’s comments come after scores of party leaders and workers were arrested following the days-long riots.
The violent protests incurred severe damage to public property and led to the death of at least eight people and injured several, with severe condemnations from the government and the army.
The military then decided to try the protesters who attacked military installations under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act, while the National Security Committee endorsed the decision. But IMran Khan has repeatedly denied responsibility and said his party had no role in the violence.