Former prime minister Imran Khan announced on Friday that the party’s ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ (court arrest drive) would commence from Lahore on February 22 (Wednesday).
Imran had announced the movement on February 5 after apparently running out of options to press the PML-N-led government to hold elections in two provinces — Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — and stop it from “political victimisation”.
In a televised address today, the PTI chairman said: “I am announcing, God willing, my ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ from Wednesday. I am telling my entire party today to prepare.”
He said that the movement would begin from Lahore before moving to other major cities in the country.
He called on the nation to leave behind fear and to not bow down before it. He thanked his supporters for gathering outside his Zaman park residence in Lahore at a moment’s notice when rumours of his alleged arrest surface.
“They are scaring us with jails [but] we will fill them all. They will not have any space left in their jails.”
Imran said he was sure that the incumbent coalition government was trying its best to delay elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, where the provincial assemblies have been dissolved.
“We dissolved the assemblies keeping the Constitution in mind,” he said. “On the 91st day, the caretaker government will be illegal and they will be violating Article 6 of the Constitution.”
He said that Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja was aware that neither the Punjab and KP governors nor the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) were acting in accordance with the Constitution.
“The CEC is making excuses in court,” he said, adding that the country’s state was “helpless” if the judiciary could not make state institutions act in accordance with the Constitution.
Accusing the “imported” government of coming into power through an “auction”, the PTI chief said only a government elected by the people could help the country at this critical time.
Imran said he did not expect elections to take place within the stipulated time of 90 days.
“They (the government) are pressurising every institution because they know they will lose,” he said. “They want to violate the Constitution or create a Karachi-like situation where they kept delaying the elections and gave a date right at the end so that there was no time to prepare […] They think a low voter turn out will help them rig the elections.”
The former PM alleged that the government had “sabotaged” the joint investigation team (JIT) formed to probe the attempt on his life in Wazirabad.
“They sabotaged the entire JIT. Today what comes forward is that they deliberately sabotaged the JIT record,” he said. “Only three people involved have the power to sabotage this.”
Imran said he had no hopes of any justice, emphasising that “they” did this out of fear of getting caught.
“Nobody cared about me or saved me when I warned that an attack was being planned against me,” he said. “Unfortunately the ones that had to save me were the ones planning it.”
Imran made it clear that his life was still in danger as the three people he held responsible for the attempt on his life were still in power.