Imran gives another call for ‘unclear’ protest

Sanaullah warns Imran’s supporters of ‘consequences’

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday announced starting his party’s ‘real freedom movement’ against the coalition government from Saturday.

Addressing a lawyers’ convention in Lahore, the former premier asked lawyers to support his movement for ‘haqeeqi azadi’ (real freedom), saying that his case against amendments to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law was pending before the Supreme Court. “For justice, I need you (lawyers) and they all should support me,” he said, and asked the lawyers to wait for his call and join the movement to give real “freedom” to the country. “I will give a call and we will get our country liberated in real terms,” he said.

He also pointed out that the economy could not improve until the justice system was improved. He thanked the legal fraternity for a warm welcome and said that the “imported government” was leading Pakistan towards a quagmire of problems.

Imran said the current government was taking Pakistan to a situation similar to that of Sri Lanka, adding that the country was moving towards big social unrest that had not been seen in the past 50 years. He claimed that only the PTI could steer the country out of such crises.

During his speech, he also mentioned the “calls from unknown numbers”, saying that nobody received such calls in the developed world.

“Nobody receives calls from unknown numbers, nor does anyone dare to illegally occupy a piece of land of any other person in the developed nations,” he said.

He pointed out that law enforcement agencies, whose duty was to enforce the law, were breaking the law and inflicting injustice upon the people.

Talking about alleged torture of Shahbaz Gill, the PTI chief said his staff officer was subjected to severe torture and humiliation. He said his speeches were banned on TV channels and the journalists were booked in different cases.

He lashed out at the incumbent government for its economic policies, pointing out that the rupee was continuously losing its value against the US dollar, while inflation and unemployment were increasing with each passing day. He added that the absence of rule of law led to investments drying up and corruption boosting.

Later, Imran held meetings with PTI lawmakers and leaders at 90 Sharah-e-Quaid-e-Azam (Chief Minister’s Secretariat).

Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah said that provinces supporting Imran Khan’s long march would violate the constitution and there would be consequences for it.

“The constitution gives power to the federal government and I would ask cabinet and the prime minister to use it in case of such a situation,” he said while talking to reporters after a seminar in Islamabad.

Lashing out at the PTI chief for misleading the people and dividing the nation, the minister said that Imran was trying to malign state institutions.

To a question about the closure of roads in Islamabad, he said that D-Chowk had been closed due to the protest of farmers. He said that negotiations would be held with the leadership of farmers and their demands would be considered.

He said the protesting farmers could be provided with an appropriate place to stage their protest. However, he added that they couldn’t be allowed to come to D-Chowk for a protest.

Strong action would be taken against participants of the PTI long march if they attempted to come towards D-Chowk, he warned. “The protesters can gather at F-9 Park or some other place, as the apex court has already provided guidance in this regard.”

However, he warned that strong action would be taken in case of any attempt to come towards D-Chowk.

He also criticised Imran, saying that no one could negotiate with him as he had an “incredible personality”. Talking about the Toshakhana case against Imran, he said the ousted premier had been involved in embezzlement and received an amount of around Rs260 million by selling gifts in the market.

To another query about the legislation related to transgender persons, Sanaullah said that everything should be decided according to the religion, “which guides us on all matters”. “We are Muslims first and everything comes later. We would have to regulate our lives according to Islam and religious scholars would be consulted on this issue.”

Fida Hussnain is a correspondent covering judiciary, politics, business and health issues. He is also a feature writer and researcher with major work on freedom of press in Pakistan. He tweets @fidahassanain and can be reached at