Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan on Saturday renewed his demand that Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif must resign after the Model Town incident, in which around a dozen people died after police opened fire at Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) workers.
He said in any truly democratic and accountable system the chief minister would have resigned after what happened in Model Town, Lahore.
“Shahbaz Sharif has not done so and is instead pursuing a vengeful track, which is shameful indeed,” he said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“The complicity of the chief minister in the Model Town action is evident from the hasty transfer of the Punjab inspector general just before the police action commenced,” Imran said. He added that Shahbaz must take responsibility for these killings. The PTI chief pointed out that the police had become notorious for extra judicial killings during Shahbaz’s previous tenures as well.
“The Punjab police have been effectively made a militant wing of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and the force has lost all credibility amongst the citizens of the province,” he said, adding that the police were seen more as a force of terror by ordinary citizens.
Imran said the chief minister – aided by his brother Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif –sought to go on a vengeful track and, instead of showing remorse, got ARY News banned as the network showed and exposed the worst kind of police atrocities against PAT workers.
“This is yet another attempt by the Sharifs to silence their political opponents and reflects their undemocratic mindset,” he said. Imran said to equate the ARY News’s a factual coverage of Punjab police to Geo’s 8-hour long vilification campaign against Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) was a massive abuse of state power. “It is not only an absurdity but a travesty of justice,” he said.
“ARY had led the critique against Geo and its owner and it was noticed and banned while the government fully allowed the 8-hour uninterrupted campaign targeting of the ISI on Geo,” he added.
He said the ‘vengeful’ undemocratic behaviour of the Sharifs’ must end, adding that the PTI would continue its struggle to strengthen democracy through its protests against electoral rigging.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 22nd, 2014.