• Fears further delays in elections; calls on people to participate in today’s rally at Minar-i-Pakistan
• Claims police officers informed him about Punjab IG’s ‘murder plan’, asked him to move to GB or AJK
LAHORE: Visibly upset over the Election Commission of Pakistan’s decision to postpone the April 30 Punjab Assembly elections until October, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan has asked how the situation would be any different five to six months from now.
“Will the economic or the security situation improve by then,” he asked, saying the ground realities suggested that the situation would be worse in October.
“Does this mean the ECP will stretch the elections even further,” he questioned, stressing that the nation was now looking towards the Supreme Court to uphold the Constitution of Pakistan.
Speaking to media persons after appearing at the Lahore High Court on Friday, the former prime minister said if authorities had decided once to violate the Constitution, anything could happen afterwards. Citing an example, he said Ziaul Haq had announced he would hold elections in 90 days but stretched it to 11 years.
Mr Khan said the PTI in particular and the people of Pakistan in general were looking towards the Supreme Court to act against the ‘law of the jungle’ as party leaders and workers were being picked up and their whereabouts were being kept hidden.
Referring to cases against PDM coalition leaders, the PTI chief said both PPP and PML-N had instituted some 95 per cent of these cases against each other when they were in power. Claiming that the PTI did not institute any case against them, Mr Khan said Nawaz Sharif was caught in the Panama Papers case, while Ishaq Dar and Shehbaz Sharif’s son-in-law had absconded during the PML-N government. “Only one case against Shehbaz Sharif was registered during the PTI government,” he asserted.
The PTI chief said the entire nation had known him for the past 50 years, and yet around 40 terrorism cases had been registered against him. “Can anyone in the country believe that I committed terrorism 40 times,” he said, adding that the nation was now losing trust in the incumbent government.
Mr Khan said the country had been converted into a ‘banana republic’ where law and justice stood nowhere. He also regretted the treatment being meted out to his nephew, advocate Hassaan Niazi. “He gets bail in one case and gets arrested in another,” the PTI chief said.
In a video message to garner public participation in the party’s rally at the Minar-i-Pakistan, Mr Khan said he would hold this year’s first public rally at 9pm on Saturday (today), where he said he would also give a programme to pull the country out of the crises it currently faced.
Referring to his claim that Punjab’s inspector general of police was planning to kill him, the PTI chief claimed some senior police officers had told him about the “murder plan” and suggested that he move to Gilgit-Baltistan or Azad Jammu and Kashmir, where the PTI is in power.
“Life and death are in the hands of Allah. Whoever wants to kill me, come here to my Zaman Park residence [in Lahore] and target me. I will not run away for fear of death,” he said.
Expressing his distrust of a joint investigation team formed by the government to investigate 10 FIRs registered in Lahore, Mr Khan asked the government, “If you are serious about constituting a JIT, it should constitute the team under the chief justice’s supervision.”
Published in Dawn, March 25th, 2023