SIALKOT: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan claimed on Saturday that a conspiracy was being hatched to kill him, and he had recorded a video message about the characters behind the alleged conspiracy. He added if something happened to him, it would be released.
The ousted prime minister, in his address to the Sialkot jalsa, said despite knowing about it earlier, he had now enough evidence to confirm the conspiracy. He said he had recorded a video message and kept it at a "safe place" in which he had mentioned each and every character that was behind the "conspiracy" to oust his government.
"They (without specifying names) have decided to kill Imran Khan. And this is why I have recorded this video as I don't consider what I do as politics, but this is jihad to me," the PTI chairman said.
Khan said he had named everyone — the people who were involved in the "conspiracy" abroad and at home. "I have said in the video that the names of every person who conspired against my government are etched on my heart."
The PTI chairman said the reason behind his video was that in Pakistan, powerful people were not held accountable, thus, through this video, he will expose everyone who went "against the country's interest”. Khan said that during his tenure, he wanted to hold the corrupt politicians accountable, but the "powerful people" who could do that have now accepted corruption as a norm.
The ousted prime minister urged the people to come out against the government and support the PTI as if they do not do this, "you will have no future". Khan said the judiciary took a good initiative by taking a suo motu on the night of the no-confidence vote and opened the gates of the courts. He told the judiciary that Rs24 billion corruption cases were filed against Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, and his brother, Suleman Shehbaz. "So tell me a country where the [authorities] make cases against you and when you come to power, you remove all those officials who were investigating the cases against the corrupt politicians," Khan said.
He paid tribute to former Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director Dr Rizwan, who was bold enough to continue investigating corruption cases against the "Sharif mafia". But when the PMLN came to power, "Dr Rizwan was pressurised; Hamza Sharif threatened him and Dr Rizwan came under severe pressure, had a heart attack and passed away".
Khan claimed that another FIA official, Nadeem Akhtar, also suffered a heart attack yesterday. "I want to ask a question: the officers who investigate the cases of mafias are under severe pressure, how is this possible? Where are my courts? It is your job to ensure they are safe."
The PTI chairman told the judiciary that the institutions were being "destroyed" in front of their eyes, and if the condition of the institutions deteriorated, then the country could not survive.
The Sialkot jalsa was held after heightened political activity in the wee hours of Saturday as the Christian community protested against the PTI's initial rally venue. At the Christian community's complaint, the police vacated the venue. But some PTI workers and leaders intervened, they were arrested in the process. The PTI then changed the venue of its public gathering from the CTI ground — a property of the Christian community — to VIP Ground in Sialkot as it had not taken prior permission for the rally.
Reacting to the Sialkot police and local administration's action against PTI workers, the party chairman said when the PTI was in power, it did not stop the then-opposition from holding long marches, rallies or sit-ins. "Every three months, they [PMLN would come to Islamabad] to oust our government. Biggest disease Asif Ali Zardari and the person who sells diesel permits, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, were also with you then," Khan said.
Khan said that his party has always remained peaceful, but warned Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and the government that if they resort to violence, then they would "not get any place to hide". Moving on, the ex-prime minister Khan said after the first independence struggle, that led to the creation of Pakistan, the nation was struggling for "real independence" for the second time.
Turning his guns on Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Khan told the PPP chairman to remember that foreign agencies were aware of where his bank accounts are. "You will not be able to look them in the eyes and speak," Khan told Bilawal.
The PTI chairman said Holy Prophet (PBUH) had said about 1400 years ago that societies with poor justice system could not survive. Imran said unfortunately Pakistan had a poor system of justice where powerful criminals dominate the justice system and stay safe from punishment. He said that Holy Prophet (PBUH) had stated that even his daughter could be punished if she committed a crime. He said within 20 days, he would call people to march on Islamabad.
He claimed that during his government, national exports increased by 29 per cent and there was the highest industrial growth since 2004. He charged that imported rulers had crashed the stock market, value of rupee was dwindling and the country was heading towards bankruptcy. He said the rulers would soon go to the USA in order to beg and humiliate the entire nation.
Earlier on Saturday, PTI leader Usman Dar, accompanied by scores of PTI workers, arrived at the ground and started preparations for a rally, upon which police launched a crackdown and arrested Usman Dar and many other party workers. "We have stopped the PTI from holding a public meeting at the CTI ground at the request of Christian community," said Deputy Commissioner Sialkot Imran Qureshi.
Following police action, many PTI workers showed resistance, however police baton-charged and used tear gas to disperse the PTI workers.
PTI leader Usman Dar said that a peaceful rally was their right, adding that former prime minister Imran Khan would visit Sialkot today. The Christian community had approached the Lahore High Court, the DPO said, adding that the police took action on court orders to stop the PTI from holding the rally. The DPO, however, said: "We are ready to give the PTI an alternative place for public gathering." Rejecting reports of arrest, DPO said that no one had been taken into custody, adding that they were just removing chairs and other stuff kept over here.
In a press conference, PTI leaders Shafqat Mehmood, Ejaz Chaudhry, and Firdous Ashiq Awan blamed Defence Minister Khwaja Asif for the police action. "Our peaceful people were beaten; holding a jalsa is our democratic right. The administration tortured our workers on Khwaja Asif's directives," Mehmood said, vowing that the rally would go ahead come what may.
Later on, the police released the detained PTI leaders and allowed them to participate in jalsa at the new venue.
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