• Imran threatens to name ‘another figure’ in ‘assassination conspiracy’; party to challenge FIR in court
• US calls on political parties to refrain from violence, respect rule of law
LAHORE: After accusing three top government and military officers of hatching a conspiracy to assassinate him in Wazirabad, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday claimed a second army officer besides the one he’s already named was also involved in the alleged plot, the name of whom he would disclose soon.
In a tweet, Mr Khan revealed that “another officer was sitting with Maj-Gen Faisal Naseer and monitoring the execution of the plot”.
Following a meeting with the party’s senior leadership at his Zaman Park residence on Wednesday evening, Mr Khan tweeted: “I will also disclose the name of the second officer who was sitting with Maj-General Faisal in the control room from around 12noon to 5pm monitoring the execution of the plot.”
Sources in the PTI say the former premier’s tweet suggests the fourth person being accused of ‘masterminding’ the attack also belonged to the military establishment.
He has also reiterated that there were four people involved in the assassination conspiracy instead of the three he has already named, and wanted them nominated in the first information report (FIR) of the Nov 3 firing incident in Wazirabad.
Imran Khan once again said on Wednesday he had found out about the assassination plot around two months ago and exposed it in his public rallies. “The Wazirabad assassination attempt followed the script,” Mr Khan tweeted, adding he had exposed this gory plan in his public meeting speeches in Rahim Yar Khan on Sept 24 and Mianwali on Oct 7.
Additionally, in an interview with British TV presenter Piers Morgan, Mr Khan said he had decided to take care of the minor children of Moazzam Gondal, who was killed in the Wazirabad incident while saving the PTI chief, for the rest of their lives.
The PTI chairman had accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and ISI DG-C Maj Gen Faisal Naseer of planning the attack on him. He also demanded the three resign to ensure a fair and transparent probe into the incident.
Meanwhile, PTI senior leader Fawad Chaudhry said Mr Khan had chaired an “important meeting” in the Punjab capital and discussed in detail the resumption of the party’s long march, the current political situation in the country and other crucial issues.
Regarding the long march, former interior minister Sheikh Rashid also tweeted that “the delay in Imran Khan’s arrival in Rawalpindi is an important march strategy”. In another tweet, he said “all important decisions, from election to selection, will be taken in Rawalpindi during the current month”.
FIR to be challenged
Earlier in the day, PTI Vice Chairman Mahmood Qureshi announced the party’s long march would resume from Wazirabad on Thursday (today) at 2pm.
Speaking to the media in Lahore, Mr Qureshi said the PTI would challenge the Wazirabad attack FIR in court. “The PTI wants a free and fair investigation into the assassination attempt on Imran Khan.”
Meanwhile, party leader Asad Umar is scheduled to reach Toba Tek Singh on Friday to lead the march.
This procession would travel from Toba Tek Singh motorway M-4 interchange to the city where Mr Umar would address a public meeting at noon. He will hold a meeting with PTI parliamentarians and office-bearers at the district council rest house and lead a rally to Kamalia. On his way to Kamalia, he will also address a public meeting at Rajana. MPA Latif Nazar Gujjar said the march is scheduled to reach Faisalabad on Sunday.
US seeks refraining from violence
The US has, meanwhile, called on all sides in Pakistan to refrain from violence and respect the rule of law.
“Violence has no place in politics. We’re concerned about these reports of violence. We call on all parties to refrain from violence, harassment, intimidation, and to respect the rule of law. We are deeply committed to a democratic and peaceful Pakistan, and we stand with the people of Pakistan,” US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said during a press briefing when asked about reports of violence amid the PTI protests and a long march.
Tariq Saeed from Toba Tek Singh also contributed to this report
Published in Dawn, November 10th, 2022