• Thu. May 25th, 2023

PTI to lodge cases against NAB, Rangers for ‘abducting’ Imran

Police commandos escort former Pakistan´s Prime Minister Imran Khan as he arrives at the high court in Islamabad on May 12, 2023. Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court on May 12, after his arrest on corruption charges this week sparked deadly clashes before being declared illegal.—AFP
Police commandos escort former Pakistan´s Prime Minister Imran Khan as he arrives at the high court in Islamabad on May 12, 2023. Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan was granted bail by the Islamabad High Court on May 12, after his arrest on corruption charges this week sparked deadly clashes before being declared illegal.—AFP 

LAHORE: The PTI leadership on Sunday decided to lodge cases against NAB and Rangers officials over the alleged abduction of Imran Khan.

In a meeting chaired by Imran Khan, it also decided to counter all kinds of propaganda against the party and to continue its struggle for general elections in the country. The PTI central leadership condemned the arrest of the party chief from the court premises and expressed complete support to the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The party chairman was briefed about legal aspects related to the Al Qadir Trust case and the PTI leadership condemned the rulers for their alleged vengeance and political victimization.

The meeting also flayed the arrest and crackdown on PTI workers countrywide. The meeting decided to fight a legal battle as well as go for a mass contact campaign for the release of detained workers. It decided to foil all tactics meant to exert pressure on the judiciary.

The PTI leadership also demanded immediate restoration of the Internet service and accused the government of trying to crush the truth. “A gang involved in the violation of the Constitution intended to push the country towards a civil war and anarchy,” it alleged.

In his tweet late Sunday night, Imran Khan said, “So now the complete London plan is out. Using the pretext of violence while I was inside the jail, they assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner. The plan now is to humiliate me by putting Bushra begum in jail, and using some sedition law to keep me inside for the next ten years.”

Meanwhile, Imran Khan escalated his criticism of the military, accusing the head of the army of harbouring a “personal grudge” against him and ordering his arrest and a crackdown on his party.

“It is personal. It’s got nothing to do with the national interest,” He told the British media in an interview at his home in Lahore, after a dramatic week in which he was arrested at Islamabad’s high court by almost 100 paramilitary officers on Tuesday and held in police custody, in connection with a land corruption case. “Without any doubt, the military is behind my arrest,” he said. “Pakistan is now being run by the army chief. The crackdown on us is by the army chief.”

Khan alleged his arrest, and that of seven senior members of his PTI party, was symptomatic of the unrivalled power wielded by the military. “The military is above law; the ISI is above law,” said Khan. “And if you have anyone above the law, then you descend into the law of the jungle. They can pick up people, detain people, disappear people. They try and influence judges; they clamp down on the media. There’s no accountability for the institution. It’s not democratic.”

Khan alleged the top brass had a “vested interest to ensure that I don’t come back to power. “They’re petrified. They know that we will sweep the elections, so they’ve been looking for an excuse to put me in jail.”

Khan’s political career has been inextricably entwined with the military establishment. Having been in the political opposition for more than a decade as leader of the PTI, it was not until he began to get the military’s backing that Khan was seen as a viable leader. He was elected prime minister in 2018 amid allegations the military had rigged the poll in his favour – a charge Khan denies. For the first two years of his government, Khan and the military worked closely together in a “hybrid regime”, with the military holding powerful posts and seen as largely calling the shots. However, Khan grew resentful of the army’s control, accusing them of blackmailing his government, while Khan’s erratic policies, his scuppering of a deal with the International Monetary Fund and repeated criticism of the US frustrated the military. Khan was toppled in a vote of no confidence, which he accused the then chief of the armed forces, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, of orchestrating.

The former prime minister has made a number of explosive but often unsubstantiated accusations since he was removed from power, including alleging that the US government colluded with the military to bring him down. The US government vehemently denied these allegations and a leaked audio recording showed Khan allegedly discussing how to “play with” a diplomatic communication to make it look like the US had interfered.

Khan further accused then-army chief Bajwa of hiring Pakistan’s former ambassador to Washington, Hussain Haqqani, to lobby against Khan in the US. In response, Haqqani told he Guardian he had sent a legal notice to Khan for defamation, asking him to retract his “lies”. “Imran Khan does not feel the need to offer any evidence of allegations he makes,” said Haqqani.

Khan’s deep-rooted relationship with the military has left critics sceptical of his anti-military position, alleging it is instead a means to weaken the army’s leadership and gain greater control over the institution, especially if he returns to power. Khan denied this. “We don’t want any backing,” he said. “We want them to be neutral; we just want free and fair elections.”

In another interview Imran Khan expressed grave concerns over the present state of democracy in Pakistan lamenting that it is at “an all-time low”. After receiving respite by the courts, the former prime minister reprised his faith only in judiciary terming it as the “only hope” in the country for restoring the rights and freedoms of the people. “Democracy is at an all-time low. The only hope we have is the judiciary,” the PTI chairman said.

“The government is petrified of elections and they fear being wiped out by the PTI in the polls,” he said. Revealing the extent of the political climate’s hostility, Khan claimed that the ruling coalition was only willing to hold elections if he was incarcerated or killed.

The PTI chief said that there had been two assassination attempts on his life, raising concerns about his safety and security. When questioned about the incidents of violence during protests by his party workers after he was arrested on May 9, the cricketer-turned-politician promptly condemned all forms of violence.

Expressing dismay at the brutal treatment by everyone involved, he said that the excessive force used during his arrest left a lasting impression on him. “The way they manhandled and beat everyone and arrested me was unsettling and shocking.” Despite the challenges he has faced, Khan said he has displayed unwavering determination and readiness to face imprisonment once again. “I am ready to go to jail again,” he maintained.

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