ISLAMABAD: PTI chief Imran Khan on Friday blamed the army chief for his “abduction” on May 9 and distanced himself from violence that took place in several cities after his arrest.

He expressed these views while having brief conversation with media persons on the premises of Islamabad High Court.

Talking to BBC correspondent Caroline Davies during a break time, Mr Khan said: “It’s not the security agencies. It’s one man, the army chief. There is no democracy in the army. The army is getting maligned with what is happening,” he replied when asked about the impression that security agencies were against him whereas the judiciary was favouring him.

“And he [the army chief] is worried that if I come to power, I will de-notify him. Which, I tried my best to send him a message, I will not. All this is happening is direct orders from him. He is the one who is convinced that if I win, he will be de-notified,” alleged Mr Khan.

The ex-premier also talked about “victimisation” of his party by the government, alleging that “5,000 people have been arrested during the last one year”. He said he had survived two assassination attempts and had only called for an investigation, regretting that his demand had been rejected.

Refutes impression of getting ‘relief’ from SC; distances himself from violent protests

Responding to a question by

Quratul Ain Sheerazi of the Independent Urdu that he had got a relief from the Supreme Court which had never been provided to any other politician, Mr Khan said how could it be called a relief when he was still sitting in the court.

“I am sitting in the Islamabad High Court. They had no justification to arrest me. I was abducted. They showed me warrant for the first time after taking me to jail. This happens only where there is a law of jungle and where army abducts [people],” he said.

“Where is the law? Where are the police? It seems that martial law has been declared [in the country],” he said.

Reiterating his position which he took in the Supreme Court on Thursday evening, Mr Khan said he was totally unaware of the developments which took place after his arrest and claimed that he had learnt that 40 people had lost their lives during the two-day protests.

Expressing “sadness” over the events that took place when he was in the custody of NAB, Mr Khan stated that “the army is getting maligned because of just one man”.

During the informal chat, Mr Khan alleged that he was tortured and hit by a baton on his head at the time of his arrest. He, however, described his treatment while he was in custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as “fair”.

Mr Khan said that what happened after his arrest was beyond his control.

“How could I be blamed for those incidents that happened while I was in custody?” he wondered while responding to his critics who were blaming him for violent protests and damage to the private and public property during the countrywide agitation.

Mr Khan also talked to Geo reporter Azaz Syed about his leaked telephonic conversation with party leader Musarrat Jamshed Cheema, stating that he had made the call with a landline number after his arrest as the court had allowed him to talk to his wife Bushra Bibi.

When the reporter put another question as to why instead of talking to his wife, he talked to a PTI member, Mr Khan said he called Musarrat as his wife did not attend the call.

The PTI chief made some interesting comments when he came face to face with senior journalist Matiullah Jan, who was a harsh critic of the PTI government’s policies and got prominence when he was abducted by unknown persons in broad daylight in Islamabad when Mr Khan was in power.

Mr Khan told the journalist that he as prime minister had ordered for his immediate release during a cabinet meeting when he learnt about his abduction.

Malik Asad also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, May 13th, 2023

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