Putting up a brave face despite exodus of party leaders, PTI chief says 'situation is going to change soon'
Legally embattled Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said Saturday his second in line, Shah Mehmood Qureshi, would lead the party if he gets disqualified.
“If I am disqualified, Shah Mehmood Qureshi will run the party,” Khan said Saturday in a meeting with journalists and lawyers at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.
The statement comes as the PTI chief has been facing a slew of cases ranging from corruption to terrorism since being ousted from power in April last year.
On May 9, he was arrested in a 190 million pounds Al-Qadir Trust case by Rangers personnel in compliance with National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrest warrants.
He was released around four days after the Supreme Court declared his arrest illegal.
Khan’s arrest on May 9 triggered a countrywide violent protests with supporters ransacking and torching defence and public installations across the country.
Subsequently, the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC) comprising top civil and military leadership vowed to try rioters under relevant laws including the Army Act.
Commenting on the mass departure of leaders from his party over the May 9 vandalism, the PTI chief put up a brave face saying the situation is going to change soon.
“I will give a big surprise in the coming days,” he added.
Khan said some party leaders were leaving the party under compulsion while some had been exposed.
Calling the youth a major asset of his party, Khan said the party ticket was their right and added that PTI will win the next general elections despite desertions of the party leaders.
He also called for holding a referendum to gauge the popularity of his party among the masses.
Amid rumours about the PTI-backed president’s resignation, Khan said Arif Alvi would continue working according to the Constitution.
The PTI chief claimed that a conspiracy had been hatched to "arrest, disqualify, and even assassinate him".
Responding to allegations that he directed his party workers to attack the military installations, the PTI chief rejected the claims saying he never issued instructions for violence and vandalism.
He also maintained that he had no quarrel with the military saying: “There is no fight with the army, this army is mine.”
The former PM hit out at the coalition government for “destroying” the country's economy and reiterated that there is no solution to the prevailing crisis except elections.