‘Defiant’ Imran refuses to back off, calls rally in Lahore today

Published March 12, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses supporters via video link on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses supporters via video link on Saturday. — DawnNewsTV

• Seeks formation of judicial commission over crackdown on election demo; demands action against interim CM, IG
• DC refuses to grant permission to rally due to PSL match, imposes Section 144 in Lahore

LAHORE: As he urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to take action against interim chief minister Mohsin Naqvi and the Punjab police bigwigs for a crackdown on the March 8 election rally, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan in an apparent act of defiance has decided to take out another rally in Lahore on Sunday (today).

In light of the rally, the district administration has imposed Section 144 in the Punjab capital. The decision came after the deputy commissioner warned the former ruling party that the administration would not have any other option but to impose Section 144 if it did not pay heed to its concerns in the wake of a PSL match in the city. But the PTI claimed it has changed the route of the rally to not disrupt the match.

Lamenting over the “custodial torture” allegedly resulting in the death of a PTI worker, the former prime minister requested the Lahore High Court chief justice to constitute a judicial commission to ascertain the facts leading to Ali Bilal’s death. “We have no hope for justice from these savages in power,” Mr Khan said in his televised address on Saturday.

“I have decided that I will fight against the corrupt system and looters of national wealth till the last drop of my blood,” he announced and urged the masses to stand beside him. Otherwise, he claimed that the corrupt rulers would take the country to a disaster where the younger generation would have no future.

Holding the ECP responsible for Ali Bilal’s death, Mr Khan said the PTI had sent a list of police and civil administration officers, who had brutally tortured party leaders and workers on May 25 last year, but the ‘neutral’ caretaker government still got them back to repeat the brutality on roads on March 8. “The ECP was responsible for establishing a neutral set-up in the province to hold elections in a free and fair manner,” the PTI chairman asserted.

Asking the ECP to take resignations from its appointees — caretaker chief minister, the police chief, and the Lahore CCPO — Imran Khan also said the “psychopath” — a purported reference to a senior intelligence agency officer — should also resign. He said the “psychopath” was creating hatred between the people of Pakistan and the state institution.

“Instead of dividing the nation, it is high time the nation should get united,” the former premier asserted, while urging the judiciary to realise its responsibility of ensuring rule of law in the country that was fast becoming a “Banana Republic”.

“I know that ‘unidentified people’ have become active and exerting pressure as well as creating hurdles in the dispensation of rule of law but the judiciary is supposed to play its crucial role to save the nation and the country from complete disaster.”

The PTI chief said that incumbent rulers feared going to elections and could employ any tactic, including a bomb blast or high-profile murder, to create a reason and impose emergency in the country. He said he was defying all such plans by exercising restraint. “I called off the long march immediately after the police attack on May 25 last year and called off March 8 election rally merely hours after the police resorted to torture and tear-gas shelling on political workers,” he stated.

The former prime minister also lambasted PML-N chief organiser Maryam Nawaz for demanding that all cases against Nawaz Sharif be closed and Imran Khan be sent to jail. “In what capacity is she making this demand,” Mr Khan asked and commented whether they were above the law.

Mr Khan said he was summoned for contempt of court, while Maryam Nawaz was openly criticising judges but not being caught in the contempt of court.

He also chided the Punjab IG for “speaking lies” about the death of the PTI worker as he had instituted a murder case against him a day earlier and now telling a presser that the worker had died in an “accident”. He also criticised the IG Police for allegedly forcing people to give statements over the death of Ali Bilal, also known as Zille Shah, to cover up the inhumane custodial torture.

Mr Khan made it clear that he and his party men would remember the faces of IG Police, CCPO Lahore, and two SPs for unleashing torture on party workers and added that they would also be “taken to task” on social media.

Published in Dawn, March 12th, 2023

Opinion

Editorial

Debt trap
Updated 30 May, 2024

Debt trap

The task before the government is to boost its tax-to-GDP ratio to the global average by taxing the economy’s untaxed and undertaxed sectors.
Foregone times
30 May, 2024

Foregone times

THE past, as they say, is a foreign country. It seems that the PML-N’s leadership has chosen to live there. Nawaz...
Margalla fires
30 May, 2024

Margalla fires

THE Margalla Hills — the sprawling 12,605-hectare national park — were once again engulfed in flames, with 15...
First steps
Updated 29 May, 2024

First steps

One hopes that this small change will pave the way for bigger things.
Rafah inferno
29 May, 2024

Rafah inferno

THE level of barbarity witnessed in Sunday’s Israeli air strike targeting a refugee camp in Rafah is shocking even...
On a whim
29 May, 2024

On a whim

THE sudden declaration of May 28 as a public holiday to observe Youm-i-Takbeer — the anniversary of Pakistan’s...