• PTI chief claims PPP leader ‘paid terrorists being supported by state agency facilitators with corruption proceeds’
• Urges judiciary to act to protect democracy, fundamental rights

LAHORE: In a startling allegation, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has now accused former president Asif Ali Zardari of being part of a plan to ‘get rid of him’, alleging that after “two” failed attempts on his life, the four people — who he has previously claimed to have hatched a conspiracy to kill him — along with the PPP leader, have now prepared a “Plan C” to eliminate him.

A couple of times last year, Mr Khan had alleged that four individuals had plotted to assassinate him and said he had recorded a video identifying those people that was stored abroad and would be released if the plan succeeded. The first plan, he claims, was never executed after he exposed it, while the second attempt occured in Wazirabad.

“Asif Zardari has paid his corruption money to a terrorist organisation being supported by powerful state agency facilitators to launch another attack on me,” Mr Khan alleged in a televised address from his Zaman Park residence on Friday.

He further said he was now disclosing to the nation the nefarious design of the four people allegedly being aided by Mr Zardari. “If I am attacked, people should know about the assailants,” he stated.

Recalling that he had exposed the earlier two assassination plans in his public meetings, the former prime minister said the incumbent rulers installed through a “regime change conspiracy” were pushing the country towards disaster. He also said he continued appealing to the powers-that-be that they had committed a mistake that could be rectified by calling free, fair and credible elections at the earliest and allowing people to choose their leaders who would save them from an economic disaster.

The PTI chairman also urged the judiciary to respond at this “defining moment” and ensure that democracy and fundamental rights of people were protected. He also reminded the judiciary that the incumbent government had appointed what he called anti-PTI caretaker governments, which were reluctant to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa within the constitutional limit of 90 days.

“If the elections will not be held within 90 days, the violators will be facing Article 6 (high treason),” he observed.

Mr Khan also urged the nation to rise to the moment and be ready to wage a “jihad” to attain ‘real independence’ (haqeeqi azadi). “I assure the nation that I will fight for this country and the nation till my last breath or, in cricketing terminology, last ball,” he stressed and hoped he would fully recover in the next two weeks to come out on the streets again.

Following the rupee’s historic fall against the US dollar, the PTI chief lashed out at the “regime change” government and predicted massive inflation and “insurmountable” economic challenges in the days to come – particularly for the salaried class.He also said the opposition members were being treated as “traitors” and politicians and journalists being tortured and threatened not to speak up against the rulers.

“Even I am facing 70 different FIRs,” he regretted.

“The government is trying to instill fear in the masses to force them to accept the rulers, who are busy in getting their corruption cases cleared besides amassing more wealth through corruption,” he alleged. “People must break the shackles of fear and stand up for their fundamental rights and the country’s prosperity.”-

Published in Dawn, January 28th, 2023

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