LAHORE: Police officers stand guard as vehicles escort PTI Chairman Imran Khan to his residence after being discharged from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital on Sunday.—Reuters
LAHORE: Police officers stand guard as vehicles escort PTI Chairman Imran Khan to his residence after being discharged from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital on Sunday.—Reuters

• PTI chief says ‘long march’ to resume tomorrow, will join it in Pindi
• Ex-PM discharged from hospital, reiterates call for resignation of govt, military officials
• Questions delay in FIR registration

LAHORE: The PTI’s long march, which came to a standstill after the assassination attempt on Imran Khan in Wazirabad, will resume its journey on Tuesday (tomorrow) from the same place where the party chairman was injured in the gun attack.

Mr Khan was discharged from Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital and moved to his residence in Zaman Park in the evening.

Addressing his second presser from the hospital, the PTI chief welcomed Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s call for a full court commission of the Supreme Court to investigate his allegations that senior government and military officials were behind the attack on him.

He revealed that while the march will start moving towards Islamabad under the leadership of party Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi on Tuesday, he would stay in Lahore to recuperate and join the march in Rawalpindi in 10- to 14 days — depending on the speed of the long march. He, however, will address participants of the long march through video link from Lahore.

FIR over gun attack

The former prime minister questioned the delay in the registration of FIR regarding the assassination attempt on him. He said the case should be registered against the prime minister, interior minister, and a senior intelligence official for “hatching a conspiracy to kill him”.

He added that despite the passage of three days, the case was not registered as the Punjab police were “rel­u­c­tant to register the FIR”. He expressed surprise that the police were adamant abo­ut not including the name of the military officer in the FIR but ready to nominate the prime minister and the interior minister in the case.

“Policemen concerned requested that they be transferred from the post…[and] some other officer may register the FIR nominating suspects mentioned by me,” he claimed.

Mr Khan raised questions over the credibility of the justice system and said even a former premier could not get a case registered. “There are people who consider themselves above the law, which unfortunately dismantles the whole edifice of the judicial system in the country,” he lamented.

He endorsed PM Sharif’s call for the SC’s full court probe commission, but expre­ssed reservations, saying how the commission would perform its duties independently if its members’ bosses who needed to be probed remained in the office.

“How can we have an impartial and fair investigation? It can’t happen. That’s why I asked them to resign so the investigation can be fair.”

Referring to the attack, Mr Khan said a suspect was interviewed by a policeman which was immediately leaked to the media to give the incident a “religious colour”. “

The police say there was pressure from “above, while the IG Police states the accused interview video was hacked,” he wondered.

Mr Khan also raised questions about people allegedly involved in the dissemination of a video that purportedly showed him “insulting religion”. “Since then I knew well, that the PML-N government functionaries with the connivance of army officers were hatching a conspiracy to eliminate me in the manner former Punjab governor Salman Taseer was killed,” he claimed and added that he exposed this plan in his public meeting speeches and interviews.

“The PTI-PML-Q government could get an FIR registered against the three PML-N leaders Maryam Nawaz, Marriyum Aurangzeb, Javed Latif after a ‘great effort’,” he said. Still, he said, no action was taken against the nominated accused.

Mr Khan proposed that the same SC commission probe the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif — tracking down who forced him to leave the country and eventually move from Dubai to Kenya.

‘Surprised over ISPR statement’

The PTI chairman expressed surprise over the statement by the ISPR DG Lt Gen Babar Iftikhar that allegations against one army officer were defaming the entire institution. Asserting that there was no logic to the army spokesperson’s statement, Mr Khan said that an allegation against one person did not mean accusing the entire institution. He asked if the army officers were considered infallible then what was the need for court martials.

Again commenting on the DG ISPR’s statement that the controversial cipher was a “drama”, the PTI chairman asked then why the cipher was not being investigated. He asked the Chief Justice of Pakistan to consider the issue a “serious matter” and investigate it. He added the copy of the cipher was already with the chief justice. “Maybe the cipher does not represent interference or conspiracy but it can only be ascertained after a thorough and fair investigation,” he added.

Imran Khan urged the CJP to investigate the kidnapping, torture, and release of an ‘obscene’ video of Azam Swati. Claiming that some “agencies were working to cover up” the issue, Mr Khan alleged that the video was not fake but recorded at Judicial Lodges in Quetta during Azam Swati’s visit along with his wife.

Since Senator Swati has decided to protest and stage a sit-in outside the Supreme Court, he said he had asked all party senators and lawyer groups to join him in his sit-in.

Published in Dawn, November 7th, 2022

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