• ‘Dangerous allegations’ have increased threats to our lives, says Bilawal
• Shehbaz labels remarks ‘dangerous, irresponsible’
ISLAMABAD: A day after PTI Chairman Imran Khan accused former president Asif Zardari of hatching a plan to kill him, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) announced it would start legal proceedings if Mr Khan did not withdraw his allegation.
Besides the PPP, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari also termed Mr Khan’s allegations “dangerous and irresponsible”.
On Friday, Mr Khan had alleged that Mr Zardari was a part of a plan to get rid of him and that the former president had paid a terrorist organisation from “ill-gotten wealth” to launch an attack on his life.
Speaking at a news conference in Islamabad on Saturday, senior PPP leaders Farhatullah Babar, Qamar Zaman Kaira and Nayyar Bokhari lashed out at the PTI chairman.
They warned him to either withdraw the allegation or face legal proceedings.
“In this panic, he keeps on blaming various institutions whether it is the establishment, the election commission or the former army chief,” said Mr Bokhari.
He added the PPP’s legal team was considering sending a legal notice to Mr Khan.
Mr Bokhari warned if Mr Khan did not withdraw his statement, the PPP reserved the right to approach courts for civil and criminal proceedings.
He said being a direct victim of the policy of “physical elimination,” the PPP could never even think of adopting such a policy.
“Imran Khan is now out of his senses because of the loss of power,” said Mr Babar, who is otherwise known for not giving personal remarks against his opponents.
He added Mr Khan “lost his mental balance” which was evident from his actions of ending his own party’s governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.
“A person who himself is a patron of militants is saying a plot to kill him has been made by hiring militants. This tells what Mr Khan’s mental level is,” Mr Babar added.
Mr Kaira asked the former PM to present the evidence for his allegation.
Bilawal censures Imran
“We are exploring [a] legal response to Imran’s latest defamatory and dangerous accusations. In the past, he threatened my father that he was in the crosshairs of his gun,” Mr Bhutto-Zardari tweeted.
“After terrorist outfits called myself & my party out by name in direct threats, Imran has now made false accusations against my father former president AZ [Asif Zardari].”
He added the statements increased threats to his father, family and the party.
“His [Imran’s] latest accusation that my family has any association to a terrorist organisation … not only defies logic but exposes us all to an increased threat,” the foreign minister said, adding his party would challenge Mr Khan.
“We cannot let populist fiction dominate our discourse, poison our politics & damage our democracy. We will not tolerate being victims of terrorist & put up with propaganda from their political frontmen.”
Noting that Mr Khan and his associates had a history of being “sympathisers and facilitators” of terrorists, he asserted it would be taken into account if any attack were to take place on him, his father or the PPP.
In a tweet, PM Shehbaz said, “Imran Niazi’s baseless & dangerous allegations against former president Asif Ali Zardari are not only irresponsible but also conform to a pattern of conspiracy theories meant to spread venom against his political opponents,” he tweeted.
“The whole nation knows how he has used politics of hatred to divide the society for the sake of power,” the PM added.
In London, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah told reporters the government has no plans to arrest Mr Khan, but his statements were “forcing him to think otherwise”.
Murtaza Wahab, Sindh government spokesman, alleged that KP was facing a law and order situation as the police had been deployed at Mr Khan’s security.
Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2023
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