Army alone can never keep nation united: Imran

PTI chief says only his party can pull off the feat


Rizwan Shehzad   August 21, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing a public gathering at Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi on August 21. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

PTI chairman and deposed premier Imran Khan on Sunday maintained that only his party could keep the nation united and the army could never do it alone.

“Otherwise, we wouldn’t have lost East Pakistan,” he added while addressing a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

The PTI chief also questioned if the “neutrals” – a tacit reference to the security establishment – were really actually neutral because all fingers were being pointed at them for whatever wrong was happening to his party and in the country.

“Are you neutral or not?” Imran asked while questioning why they were allowing so much damage to the country.

Imran added that if the neutrals thought that the people would accept everything just because the former were standing with the “thieves”, they were seriously mistaken.

“It would only damage your standing,” he claimed.

He maintained that he knew about the plan, which included putting him in jail and disqualifying him.

“[If they proceed with this plan] they would ultimately hurt the nation,” he added.

The PTI chief said only a political party could keep the country united.

“Weakening the PTI is tantamount to weakening Pakistan,” he claimed.

He warned that the country would become Sri Lanka because a political party – the PTI -- was taking the people along with it.

“There will be no one to stop the people if it [PTI] was removed,” he claimed.

Imran maintained that all methods of fixing the economy and bringing political stability would fail unless free and fair elections were held.

The PTI chief said the only solution that the incumbent rulers had was that they are asking the army chief to make phone calls to Saudi Arabia for monetary support.

He added that this was because the Saudis considered the rulers as “thieves” and no one else gave them money.

“The army chief is sometimes calling the US, and at others the UAE and Saudi Arabia asking them to give us money,” Imran said, claiming that this would only lead to adding more debt.

“How will the loans be returned when the revenue is not increasing,” he questioned. He reiterated that the only solution was free and fair elections.

Addressing specifically to the “neutrals”, Imran claimed police has told the PTI that they attacked party activists on May 25 because they had been given orders from the high-ups.

“This means there was pressure from the ‘neutrals’ to beat them up,” he added.

The PTI chief maintained that he would not flee abroad.

Read Imran 'faking' Gill's torture to divert public: Rana Sanaullah

“I will live and die in Pakistan as I have no place abroad,” he claimed.

Imran said the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) chief was making all the decisions against PTI, claiming an attempt was being made to disqualify him as well. “Insiders say that he [chief election commissioner] is not doing anything but there was pressure from the ‘boots’,” he maintained, saying even the police had said that they had not tortured his aide Dr Shahbaz Gill in custody but somebody else did.

“Whatever wrong is happening in Pakistan, it is being attributed to you [neutrals],” Imran claimed.

He maintained that the people coming to meet him at his Bani Gala residence were also being searched and asked over phone why they were meeting the PTI chief.

Imran claimed that police officials had told the PTI that the ‘neutrals’ were behind it.

Speaking about why he was ousted from the post of the premier and why he had become a problem for foreign countries, Imran claimed that it was for the first time that a prime minister of Pakistan went to the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and UN General Assembly (UNGA) meetings and clearly told them that Muslims are hurt when someone disrespected our Holy Prophet (PBUH) under the garb of freedom of expression.

“That’s why Russian President Vladimir Putin and Canadian PM Justin Trudeau endorsed my stance,” he said, adding the happiest day during his rule was when the UNGA announced the observance of the anti-Islamophobia day.

“These people had become habitual and they didn’t like it,” Imran said and then narrated the story starting from US official Donald Lu to his ouster through a vote of no-confidence from the National Assembly.

He said that a government having record tax collection, remittances and exports was removed just because they needed “cherry blossom” – a term that he uses for insulting the incumbent Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif alleging that he polished the boots of the powerful stakeholders.

After running a clip of PM Shehbaz where he was regretting before an audience that he did not want to beg but there was no other way around, Imran claimed the citizens would have to become the slaves to such people if they did not take a stand.

He also compared the prices of different food items, including onions, chicken etc, with the ones during his rule, saying there was huge difference in them.

He then claimed that the PTI had won the Punjab by-elections despite rigging and the chief election commissioner allegedly supporting PML-N leaders.

He alleged that CEC tried his best to rig the Punjab by-elections – where PTI won 15 out of 20 seats – but people turned out in large numbers and the plan was defeated.

When the government saw its defeat, he said, it started crushing PTI by lodging FIRs and giving threatening calls.

Commenting on the alleged torture on his aide Gill, Imran while addressing all those involved questioned what would their families think and go through if the former suffered the same treatment.

He said Gill, a professor at a US university, came to Pakistan to serve the country but he was stripped naked and tortured in police custody.

“Whatever they did to Gill, they have fallen down below the status of animals,” he said.

At the outset, Imran said a campaign was going on in the country and the sole purpose of it was to never let the nation truly become independent. He added that the future belonged to the youth and they had to decide if they wanted a Pakistan that Allama Iqbal and Quaid-e-Azam dreamt and built or the one where laws are different for the weak than those for the powerful.

The PTI chief said he was starting his fight for real freedom from Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh keeping its historical value in view, saying Quaid-e-Azam’s companion Liaquat Ali Khan was martyred at the same place from where his party was starting its movement. However, Imran did not mention that former premier Benazir Bhutto was also martyred at the same venue.

Imran said he would be on the streets until he achieved real freedom for the nation.

“Why was there a need to remove Imran Khan?” the PTI chief questioned. He asked was he stealing money from Pakistan and building palaces abroad; was he involved in money laundering; was he occupying people’s lands; or was he setting up factories.

 

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