Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has rejected the notion that a deal had been reached with the establishment, saying that he ended the “Azadi March” only out of fear of bloodshed.
"Our protest was peaceful but the government turned it into a violent one. In Lahore, police stopped a bus filled with lawyers, dragged them out and beat them. The government brought in selected officers, including the inspector general of police, who committed atrocities,” the former prime minister said while addressing a news conference here on Friday.
Coming down hard on the police, Imran said, “What kind of anti-national police would use violence against women and children in their own country?”
The former premier said a propaganda was created against them that they were going to spread chaos. He asked, “Will anyone take women and their families to spread chaos?”
Imran compared the people in power with Yazid, saying that they (government) believed in him. “Fourteen people were killed in Model Town but they were not punished. If they had been punished, they would not have committed such atrocities.”
The Model Town tragedy was a violent clash that ensued between the Punjab police and Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) activists on June 17, 2014 resulting in 14 protesters being killed by police gunfire.
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The standoff lasted for almost 11 hours when the police's anti-encroachment squad launched an operation to remove the barriers from the road leading to the offices of Minhajul Quran and the residence of PAT founder Muhammad Tahirul Qadri in Model Town, Lahore, even though police officials were given a court order by PAT leaders, stating "due to terrorism issue place security barriers in front of Minhajul Quran and the residence of Qadri”.
Imran reassured his supporters that he was the same leader who once conducted a sit-in for 126 days and that it would not have been difficult to do so again during the “Haqeeqi Azadi March” in the federal capital.
“However, as soon as I reached, I became aware of the extent of the situation,” Imran said, adding that he knew there would be bloodshed and claimed that his supporters were "ready" even after seeing the "terrorism" carried out by the police.
“When we arrived at the sit-in site, I knew that the situation was not good. I knew that blood was about to spill, as the people were ready to fight. Our people reached the sit-in site after being beaten by the police. They were very angry. I can guarantee that there would have been bloodshed and clashes with the police that day.”
He said that the government had installed Gullu Butts. Gullu Butt was the ruling PML-N worker who led the assault against the PAT workers. “It is not the fault of the police that it is being used.”
The PTI chairman said, “If we had a confrontation, the country would be at a loss. Let no one think that we were weak or that we made a deal.”
He said, “I do not want the gap between the institutions and the people in the country to widen. If anyone thinks that we will sit back and recognise this imported government, it is their mistake.”
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Imran said that he was giving six days to the government to announce the date of elections and dissolve assemblies. “If our demands are not met, we will go out again and this time we will go out prepared because we did not know that we would face such a situation.”
Despite the order of the Supreme Court, he said, obstacles in the way of their sit-in were not removed.
“They were removed by the workers. I salute my workers.”
Imran said that he had written a letter to the chief justice of Pakistan asking him to clear his position. “In six days it will be known whether the Supreme Court protects our rights or not.”
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