Would prefer dying than serving ‘thieves’: Imran

PTI chief says he was not raised in dictators’ nurseries

Imran Adnan October 30, 2022
PTI chief Imran Khan’s caravan moves ahead in Muridke. PHOTO: AFP


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former premier Imran Khan on Sunday said that he would prefer “dying” than accepting slavery of the “thieves who had been imposed in the country”, reiterating his only demand for staging the long march was free and fair elections.

Addressing a large number of participants of the “Haqeeqi Azadi March” in Muridke as it entered its third day, the PTI chief said he was a free man, fighting for “real independence, rule of law and protection of people’s right in the country”.

“My only demand for staging this long march is free and fair elections. It is the right of the Pakistani nation to decide who will rule the country. The nation will not accept the slavery of thieves, imported rulers and US,” the ex-premier reiterated.

Responding to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s statement that he sought talks on the appointment of the new army chief, the former premier maintained that he did not talk to “boot polishers”.

Imran claimed that he spoke to “those” with whom Shehbaz “hid in the trunk of the car to speak”.

“Why I would speak to you [Shehbaz] when I know that you have no say in anything,” he added.

He underscored that he was not raised in dictators’ nurseries.

“I am neither like [PPP founder] Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who called [former military ruler] Ayub Khan daddy, nor like [ex-premier] Nawaz Sharif who became a minister by constructing [former] General [Ghulam] Jilani's house and massaging the knees of [ex-military ruler] General Ziaul Haq,” he added.

“I came into power after a struggle of over two decades. Right now, the PTI is the biggest political party of Pakistan. I reached here with the backing of the Pakistani nation, not because of the [security] establishment,” he claimed.

Addressing the establishment, the PTI chief said former military dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf had caused an irreparable loss to Pakistan by giving an NRO (National Reconciliation Ordinance) to these “thieves”.

“Even an enemy cannot do this to Pakistan. People voted for me because they don’t like these ‘thieves’,” he added.

“Earlier, you [security establishment] made corruption cases against them [current rulers] and told the nation that they were enemies of the country, Imran maintained.

“Now, all of a sudden you [security establishment] have decided to support them but remember that the people of Pakistan will not accept this,” the PTI chief said while indicating towards the  crowd chanting slogans in front of him.

The former premier claimed that he carried out “constructive criticism” of State institutions.

“Pakistan and its army are mine and I strongly believe that the country needs a strong army to maintain its sovereignty. I want to make the Pakistan army a strong institution,” he added.

Commenting on the Indian media’s coverage of his criticism of military officials, Imran said New Delhi should clear its “misconceptions”.

“The entire Pakistani nation and my party is standing with their armed forces and would never compromise on national security and sovereignty,” he maintained.

The PTI chief asked the chief justice of Pakistan to ensure the rule of law in the country. “Bring those under the law who consider themselves above it. No institution has the permission to break the rule of law,” he added.

Imran further claimed that it was not possible in any country, where there was a rule of law, to carry out custodial torture on civilians, including his aide Shahbaz Gill and party leader Azam Swati.

“I humbly request the apex court to bring the rule of law in the country. Make this a defining moment in the history of Pakistan. There is a dire need for the rule of law in the country. Shahbaz Gill and Azam Swati were not criminals or murderers. I request the apex court to hear their cases,” he said.

The PTI chief “reminded” the CJP that it was his “responsibility to protect people’s rights”.

The PTI’s long march to Islamabad has entered its third day. It started from Muridke and was scheduled to reach Gujranwala by evening. However, because of the large number of its participants, it is running behind its announced schedule.

The march was also called off for the day when a female reporter died in a container accident near Sadhoke.

Separately, a police officer, posted in Muridke for the long march, died following a heart attack.

A Sheikhupura police spokesperson said Constable Liaquat Ali was on duty as a driver at the PTI march when he died because of a cardiac attack.

The spokesperson added that Ali was the father of three sons and a daughter and belonged to Sheikhupura’s Khanqah Dogran area.

He was shifted to the Sheikhupura District Headquarter Hospital but was unable to recover.

His body has been sent to his ancestral village.


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