In his first address to the nation on Saturday (May 13) after his release from the anti-graft body’s custody on the apex courts order, Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Imran Khan has advised the powerful military to form its own political party for jumping into politics and think big for saving the country from descending into a complete chaos.
Looking furious over the manner the military establishment was bent upon crushing his party, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI), Khan, during his address from his Zaman Park residence at 8 pm, asked the military leadership to review its “anti-PTI policy” for the sake of Pakistan, saying its steps have already brought the country to brink of disaster.
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A triumphant Khan returned to his Lahore home on Saturday after having locked himself in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises for hours for fear of re-arrest despite being granted bail on Friday.
Before leaving for Lahore, the 70-year-old Pakistan PTI chief hit out at the imported government for kidnapping him despite the IHC granting him bail in all cases.
Taking a pot shot at Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry’s statement in which he called Khan a hypocrite, the PTI chief said: “Listen to me Mr DG ISPR you were not even born when I was representing my country in the world and earning good name for it. You need to ashamed of yourself for calling me hypocrite and anti-Army.”
He said the ISPR, the media wing of the military, had never said such things (about a politician).
“You have jumped into politics. Why don’t you form your own party. Who has given you the right to make such frivolous allegations. Have some shame for saying that no one else harmed the army to the extent that I did, and that you will crush us,” Khan said.
During his address, Khan asked whether the Pakistan Army’s image was good while he was the prime minister or now?
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“The people liked the Army then. When an Army chief (former Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa) stabbed me in the back and brought to power Pakistan’s most infamous and corrupt criminals, the masses started criticising the Army and it is not because of me but the Army chiefs actions that the Army is being targeted and criticised,” he said.
Khan further said he is the recipient of the most charity around the globe since people trust him.
“You are saying Imran Khan is lying. I have been given the most charity because they trust me and consider me an honest person.”
“Pakistan’s Supreme Court has also declared me honest (Sadiq aur Amin),” he said.
Khan, who was ousted from power in April last year through a no-confidence motion, said that the handlers (a reference to the military) and its installed government are the main beneficiaries of the attack on the military installations during a protest after his arrest last Tuesday.
“They have put the entire leadership of PTI in jails and arrested over 3,500 workers and instituted more cases against me after the attack on the state buildings by unknown persons. The government parties do not want the elections because they know they will be completely wiped out. That is why they planned this conspiracy (attack on military installations) and ran away from elections,” he said.
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Khan said such a crackdown had been carried out in East Pakistan which his party is facing today.
“Such actions have dire consequences. Although you (the Army) will not listen to me, I advise you to think big. You should see where the country is heading by such actions,” he said.
Khan termed the judiciary the only hope for Pakistan, asking the judges to refuse illegal orders from the handlers.
He said there has been unprecedented media control by the handlers who had also imposed a ban on social media to curb free speech.
He appealed to the journalists to listen to their conscience and not be controlled by fear being instilled by the military establishment.
Khan expressed fear that senior journalist Imran Riaz Khan who was abducted (by security agencies) might be severely tortured or killed.
He also lambasted the government for the abduction of another senior political analyst Oriya Maqbool Jan.
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Khan demanded investigation into the protests and vandalism following his arrest by Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial so that facts could come to fore.
He suspected that the handlers were also involved in the attack on the state installation to achieve its motive, saying his party has no history of indulging in violence.