PTI prepared to deal with obstacles, says Imran

PTI chairman urges apex court to provide protection to his party for holding another round of protest against govt


Our Correspondent May 30, 2022
PTI chief Imran Khan addressing a lawyers' convention on May 30, 2022. Photo: Express

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PESHAWAR:

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Monday said that if the Supreme Court did not provide his party protection for the next long march, he would opt for a different strategy wherein they would be prepared to deal with the situation.

Addressing a lawyers' convention, the former prime minister said: "The PTI will make a plan for dealing with the obstacles. [That] time round we weren't prepared [...] we were stuck unprepared. This time we will be prepared."

He termed the long march “jihad”, saying that he would not accept the imported government at any cost.
The authorities had tried to thwart the first long march on May 25 by invoking Section 144, a measure used to curb gatherings. Major thoroughfares were blocked by placing shipping containers.

However, the participants of the long march forced their way through the containers. Police used teargas and batons to disperse them.

The PTI leadership filed a police complaint seeking the registration of a first information report (FIR) against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Inspector General of Police Islamabad Dr Akbar Nasir and others against "police brutality and unreasonable use of force" against the peaceful marchers.

Also read: ‘Azadi March’: Government had the last laugh

Addressing the lawyers, the PTI chairman said that the ruling coalition was brought in through a "foreign conspiracy".

"We have asked for a ruling from the SC over whether or not we have the democratic right to stage a peaceful protest? If this is a democracy, under what basis were we stopped? How can they stop the chief ministers of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and Gilgit-Baltistan?" he asked.

He said that his party did not have a "history of violence", citing the PTI's 126-day sit-in in Islamabad in 2014. He said that he called of the sit-in on May 25 in an effort to avoid bloodshed.

Imran reiterated that the police brutality had angered the people, adding that he feared that it would lead to violence and chaos.

He said that it would also have developed hatred against the police as well as the army because the Rangers had also fired tear gas shells.

"I did not want my country to be divided for our enemies to benefit from it," he said.

Imran asked the apex court to give a ruling providing an explanation why obstacles were placed to stop the PTI from holding the long march. He also questioned whether the SC would still allow such "undemocratic" moves when the PTI announces the date for its next march.

Giving an interview to a private news channel, Imran said on May 25 he feared that "bloodshed" was imminent as some of his party workers were also armed and could have retaliated in the face of the authorities' hours-long shelling and heavy-handed tactics.

 

 

Following his ouster from power, Imran Khan has alleged that a “foreign conspiracy” against his government was behind the no-confidence motion tabled in the National Assembly last month and has repeatedly stated that he is willing to go to any lengths for “real freedom” of the country but will not accept the incumbent government led by “slaves of US and thieves”.

Audio clip saga

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has urged people to reject the policies of PTI and criticised Imran for damaging the country’s economic and other interests, calling him an arrogant, who hoodwinked the masses by telling lies and taking U-turns.

PM made these remarks after an audio clip of an alleged conversation between former president Asif Ali Zardari and property tycoon Malik Riaz which took place before the no-confidence motion against former prime minister Imran Khan, has been leaked on social media in which Riaz can be heard saying that Imran wanted to reconcile with the PPP co-chairman.

Imran Khan had repeatedly denied rumours surrounding the topic when he was in government, saying he did not need NRO (amnesty) from anyone, rather, all other politicians had been asking for one which wasn't given to them.

In a comment on the audio clip, PM Shehbaz stated that the alleged conversation between Zardari and Malik Riaz exposed Imran Khan's "hypocrisy and double standards".

"Contrary to his claims, he [Imran] sought NRO to save himself & his govt. The fake story of foreign conspiracy was manufactured after all his efforts failed," Shehbaz said, adding that Imran's "lies stand exposed".

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