LAHORE: PTI Chairman Imran Khan has claimed that a “king’s party” is being carved out of the PTI, but warned that such attempts did not succeed in the past and would fail in the future as well.

In a video address on Tuesday, Mr Khan claimed that seats in the next elections would be divided among the king’s party, the PML-N and PPP.

However, he questioned whether a “manufactured” coalition could steer the country out of the current crises.

“The effective governance that Pakistan now desperately needs comes from popular support, not from the establishment’s backing.”

PTI chairman alleges party leaders being tortured, terms use of terror tactics ‘untenable’

Talking about the desertion of PTI leaders, Mr Khan claimed that the second string of leadership was made to buckle under pressure first.

“Now, they are trying to break away the ticket holders [for Punjab Assembly polls],” Mr Khan said, but added that it was proving tough for many reasons.

“First of all, I mostly gave the tickets to party ideologues, who are now resisting the pressure. Secondly, people are angry and frustrated at being denied their rights.”

He also claimed that those contemplating desertion knew their political career would end if they break away from the party.

These were difficult times for the party, he said, because the government and institutions “were out to crush PTI”.

Mr Khan alleged that PTI leaders including Senator Ejaz Chaudhry, former Punjab governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema and Mian Mahmoodur Rashid were being tortured. “I have seen their videos.”

He added that FIA, NAB and police have been given the sole task of preparing cases against himself and the PTI.

“The police have a one-point agenda: to arrest those who have any association with the PTI, even at the lowest levels.”

The authorities are even demolishing homes and businesses of PTI leaders and supporters to pressurise them, the PTI chief claimed.

He rebuffed the parallels between what was currently happening with his party and the time when he was the prime minister.

“We never tortured anyone. We never picked up women. We never raided and demolished homes,” Mr Khan claimed.

He reassured his party’s supporters that his life was most at risk but he will never back off.

‘Current situation untenable’

Separately in an interview with BBC News, Mr Khan called the current situation “untenable” as “terror tactics” can only be used for a short time.

He also refuted the perception that the desertion of PTI’s central leaders was a big crisis.

“[W]e will fill in all the positions of people who have left,” Mr Khan told the BBC.

“So have younger blood, newer people coming in. They’ll probably get arrested, too.”

He added that he was “watching this whole scenario” and hinted at his impending arrest.

“The idea that I would give in to this or I will accept this and keep quiet about it, it’s not going to happen.”

Published in Dawn, May 31st, 2023

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