CHARSADDA: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday took the federal government to the task over a rise in militant attacks in tribal districts and Malakand, saying the government, instead of lodging cases against him, should step forward and put an end to the resurgence of militancy in the area.

Addressing a public gathering in Charsadda, the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chief claimed that the government could not control the situation in the country.

“In Malakand, law and order situation has resurfaced. The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police are putting up their best efforts, but the federal government needs to step in and fulfil its duties,” Imran Khan told a crowd in the city recently hit by the deluge.

He took a jibe at the federal government and said instead of booking him on terrorism charges or any other cases, it should focus on militants canvassing in the former Fata region and Swat. According to the PTI chief, the people of KP have sacrificed a lot in the fight against terrorism and it was federal government responsibility to stabilise the law and order situation in the area.

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Earlier this week, eight people, including a former Aman Committee head and two policemen, lost their lives when a remote-controlled bomb struck their vehicle in the Ghlo Kandaw area of Kabal Tehsil in Swat valley.

As a result of an increase in violence, families from Tirah in Khyber district have started to flee. The fresh wave of terrorism also prompted a number of demonstrations in Swat and Shangla, with protesters demanding an end to the presence of militants in the region.

The opposition lawmakers in KP blamed the PTI provincial government for its “sluggish” response to the increase in terrorism.

‘Corruption cases being dropped’

During the rally, Imran Khan again alleged that the ‘imported government’ came to power to end corruption cases against its leadership. He said after an amendment in the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), Ramzan Sugar Mills in which Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was named had been withdrawn and claimed that the government members “got away with Rs1,100 billion of looted money” through this amendment.

Mr Khan claimed that Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz would have been convicted in the Rs16bn scam being probed by the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA). He alleged that four witnesses and an investigation officer who were part of the case died within two months and claimed that these “people were murdered”.

“The cause [of their death] was heart attack but [in future] when an investigation will take place, it will be found out that they were murdered,” the PTI chief claimed.

He warned that if efforts were made to stop the ‘peaceful revolution’ then things will head to a point where the ‘game will be out of everyone’s hands’. He added that there was still time to call free and fair polls to take the country out of the quagmire.

“Let the change come through vote,” Mr Khan said, adding that the government has “already lost the match”.

Imran Khan said there was no other solution to the country’s current issues other than snap elections that would bring political stability and economic stability. “I am preparing all of you; when I give you the call, you have to set out with me for real freedom,” he told the charged crowd.

The PTI chief also announced support for the farmers’ protest scheduled for Sept 21. He said he would organise another telethon on Sunday to raise funds for the flood-hit people.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2022

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