ISLAMABAD: For the first time after emerging as a major player in national politics, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) has publicly expressed concern over the security of its chairman Imran Khan.
A few days ago policemen deployed at the PTI chief’s residence and escort for his movement were removed on the instructions of interior ministry.
PTI secretary general Jahangir Khan Tareen sent a letter to the ministry late on Thursday night in which the party formally protested over the withdrawal of security personnel.
The letter addressing Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan has sought full-scale security for Imran Khan’s residence, as well as for his movement.
The letter, a copy of which has also been sent to Interior Secretary Shahid Khan, said Imran Khan should be provided security according to his status as chairman of the second largest political of the country and third largest in terms of its seats in the parliament.
Earlier on Thursday, PTI vice chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi criticised the Interior Ministry for withdrawing security for Imran Khan.
Mr Qureshi said that it was a matter of concern that at a time when the PTI chief was facing threats from militants because of his support to polio vaccination campaign the government had removed his security.
“God forbid, if something happens to Imran Khan the government will be held responsible,” he said.
Mr Qureshi said security was an issue not only for the PTI chief, but for all political leaders of the country.
Reminding the government that Imran Khan was the head of the country second largest political party, he asked the government to beef up his security.
Naeemul Haq, the chief of staff to the PTI chairman, told Dawn that Chaudhry Nisar himself had informed Imran Khan about serious security threat to his life and provided two police mobiles for his escort. “It’s quite surprising that when militants have publicly threatened to harm the PTI chairman the interior minister has ordered removal of his security cover.”
No one from the Ministry of Interior was available to respond to the PTI’s reaction over the withdrawal of security.
Official spokesperson of the ministry, Umar Hameed, has recently been transferred and the position is lying vacant at the moment.
However, an official of the ministry said that the interior minister himself issued directives for the withdrawal of Imran Khan’s security because the PTI chief did not fall in the category of people for whom special security measures were required.
Denouncing attack on polio workers and policemen guarding them, the PTI chairman himself inaugurated an anti-polio campaign on Wednesday by administrating vaccine to a grandson of Maulana Samiul Haq at Darul Uloom Haqqania, sending out a much needed and powerful boost to the campaign against the spread of polio.
The PTI chief’s outright support to the anti-polio campaign, as expected, has received reaction from militants.
According to the PTI’s media wing, Imran Khan is facing serious threat from a militant group named Ansarul Mujahideen.