Friday March 01, 2024

In Murtaza Bhutto murder style...: I may be assassinated in a day or two, fears Imran

“Their plan is to kill me like Murtaza Bhutto," PTI chief accuses PDM govt

By Faizan Bangash & News Desk
March 23, 2023
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses workers and supporters via video link from Lahore, on March 22, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTI
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addresses workers and supporters via video link from Lahore, on March 22, 2023, in this still taken from a video. — YouTube/PTI

LAHORE: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan claimed on Wednesday that a plan had been made to eliminate him in the same pattern used against Murtaza Bhutto.

The government has devised a plan to conduct an operation inside Zaman Park either today or tomorrow, said Imran.

“They have formed two squads that will mingle with the PTI workers and fire at the policemen,” Khan told his party workers and supporters via video-link from his Lahore home. He alleged that IGP Punjab and IGP Islamabad and handlers had devised the plan. “Their plan is to kill people as they did in Model Town,” he said.

It should be noted that in 2014, a scuffle between supporters of the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and the police force claimed the lives of at least 14 people and left more than 100 others injured during an ‘anti-encroachment operation’ outside Idara Minhajul Quran in Lahore’s Model Town.

“I want to tell the Punjab Police that five police personnel will be killed by them [the government],” he claimed, adding that his party was not looking for a conflict. He said that after the possible carnage, police would enter his residence and kill him.

The cricketer-turned-politician urged the PTI supporters and workers to avoid getting involved in any conflict “despite their [security forces’] repeated attempts to provoke you all”.

“If they come [to Zaman Park], my supporters should refrain from showing immediate reactions... let them come to me directly,” he said, claiming that the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) government was planning to kill him like Murtaza Bhutto, who was killed by police in Karachi in September 1996 during the government of his sister Benazir Bhutto.

Khan lamented that a tragedy was taking place in the country. “Our police and Rangers are being pitted against their own citizens.” To serve their own interests, these people treat citizens like animals, he regretted.

Referring to the events of Saturday, when Khan’s house was raided by the police while he was at Islamabad Judicial Complex for his court hearing in the Toshakhana case, Khan said as he got closer to the federal capital, he thought he would be arrested.

“Our workers were stopped and separated from the rally at various places,” he said, elaborating on his previous assertions that a conspiracy was afoot to murder him.

“Then as we proceeded to the court, they started pelting us with stones. I stood at the door of the court for more than 40 minutes,” he said, adding that the stage had been set for his murder by isolating him from his supporters.

Alleging that there were “unidentified people” in uniforms of the Counter-Terrorism Department (CTD), Khan said: “Their plan was to kill me, the same way Murtaza Bhutto was killed.”

He further said that yet another conspiracy was in the making. “They will infiltrate our people and attack the police, creating an attack much like the Model Town incident.” He advised his supporters to refrain from violence, “no matter how much they are provoked”.

The former prime minister said that he and his supporters were treated with “cruelty” to break their resolve.

Accusing the government of the economic crisis and calling the ruling alliance members thieves and traitors, the deposed prime minister advised his supporters to stay firm against his opponents. “Even if I leave, you have to stand in front of them without any fear,” he said.

The PTI chief further said that in the Minar-e-Pakistan rally — now scheduled to be held on Saturday, March 25, he would present the nation with a plan on how the country could get out of the quagmire it was currently stuck in. “All of Pakistan will see who people stand with,” he said.

While slamming the incumbent government for calling a joint session of parliament on Wednesday, he said that it was the result of their fear of defeat in the elections.

The PTI chairman said though he had secured bail in all cases, even if the police come up with fresh warrants, he was ready to present himself for arrest. “I will not let any of my people die; I don’t care about my cases but my workers. However, the judiciary should protect our rights,” added Imran. He said the country would have no future if the incumbent rulers would continue in power.

Imran also grilled Finance Minister Ishaq Dar for linking the nuclear programme with the IMF.