Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan on Saturday said that his remarks in the British newspaper The Guardian regarding the attack on author Salman Rushdie were "taken out of context".
In an interview, the former premier condemned the knife attack on Rushdie, claiming that the anger of Muslims against the author was understandable but it didn't justify the attack.
However, the official Twitter account for the PTI, clarified that Imran’s statement was “taken out of context”, and that he had refused to attend a seminar in India because Rushdie was also invited.
دی گارڈین نے میری گفتگو سیاق و سباق سے ہٹ کر پیش کی۔ میں نے بھارت میں ملعون سلمان رشدی کو مدعو کرنے پر سیمینار میں شرکت سے انکار کیا۔ انٹرویو میں، میں نے گستاخ رسولﷺ کو سزا دینے کے اسلامی طریقہ کار کی وضاحت کی۔ سانحہ سیالکوٹ کا حوالہ دیا، اسی تناظر میں رشدی کی بات کی۔— PTI (@PTIofficial) August 19, 2022
عمران خان pic.twitter.com/ioG7dlTNZX
“In the interview, I explained the Islamic method of punishing blasphemers,” he said.
The PTI chief maintained that he had given the example of the Sialkot tragedy and had spoken of Rushdie in a similar context. Imran was referring to the brutal lynching of a Sri Lankan man in Sialkot over blasphemy allegations.
Last week, the author sustained severe injuries in an attack, including nerve damage in his arm, wounds to his liver, and the likely loss of an eye, his agent said. But his condition has been improving since the weekend, and he had been taken off the ventilator.
In a session held with digital media influencers, Imran said that the appointment of the army chief should be on merit.
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“If all this [political and economic instability] is happening because of one appointment, it is a great misfortune for the country as the army cannot unite the country only political parties keep a country together,” he added.
Imran said that he did not know anything about the extension in the tenure of COAS Gen Qamar. “Every day a new story is heard … Pakistan has to think about the issue of appointment.”
Imran said, “The neutrals have to decide whether they are with the people or with these thieves [PTI chief’s political opponents].”
Having played cricket for 20 years, he said, “I don't remember ever reading about the change of army chief in the newspaper.
“Here the change of army chief becomes a national issue.”
Further, Imran said that the debates being held on social media currently were more of a "course correction, rather than conspiracies".
Imran said the public was standing with him, adding that with colossal support from the public comes great responsibility as well.
While holding a Q&A, he said social media was not showing any conspiracies but only a trend of course correction.
Emphasising his growing public support, he said: “If I want to shut down Islamabad, I can do that easily. However, that will be my final step and I do not wish to go that far.”
Regarding the country’s financial crisis, Imran turned his guns toward Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying if the premier was serious he should bring his brother Nawaz Sharif’s wealth worth billions of rupees back to Pakistan.
The PTI chief stressed on taking thoughtful decisions to save the country from economic loss.
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