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Imran tells supporters to avenge his death

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday asked his supporters to “get justice for me and our country in case something happens to me”, reiterating that his life was under threat and that he had recorded a video message to be released in case he was assassinated.

“I’ve recorded a video because I know Pakistan’s history. It tells us our justice system can’t apprehend powerful criminals, so I leave it to the people. If something happens to me, the nation will have to get me justice,” the former premier said at a public rally in Faisalabad.

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“You have to promise me two things: If something happens to me, then those I name in the video… you have to stand up to them and ensure they are taken to court so that the first time the powerful will face the law.”

He also asked the crowd to make a pact that they would “never accept slavery” and “never vote for a party whose leaders’ money is stashed abroad”. Such politicians, he said, could not be depended on to safeguard the country’s interests since their possessions were abroad and their priorities lay elsewhere.

Regarding Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s upcoming trip to the United States, he said the government would “beg” for money from the US and “use my name to scare them (US)”. He said any US help would come with stringent conditions, which would include Pakistan being asked to “serve India, forget about the Kashmir and Palestine causes and back out of business transactions with Russia and Iran”.

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On a seemingly lighter note, Imran also asked the people in the crowd to ensure that no lota (turncoat) succeeded in future elections from Faisalabad; otherwise, “I won’t come to Faisalabad again”.

Earlier, Imran lashed out at the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)-led coalition government, claiming that they were taking the country “towards destruction”. He questioned the government if it could handle the economy, pointing out that the rupee was continuing its slide against the dollar, the stock market was under pressure and inflation was soaring. He said his government was ousted at a time “when the country’s wealth and exports were increasing”.

“We were collecting historic tax, farmers got unprecedented money and increased crop production, we had four record crops,” he said. Reiterating that his government was ousted through a conspiracy hatched inside the United States, Imran said it was abetted by local “Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs” – a historical reference he has used consistently over the past month as a pejorative for those he claims were part of the alleged conspiracy against him.

“TV channels and media houses, why don’t you reach out to the people and ask them how expensive tomatoes and chicken are today? Chicken price has doubled because Hamza Shehbaz is in that business,” Imran said. Lashing out at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shehbaz, the PTI chief lamented that under-trial individuals occupied such high offices, which he said amounted to “disrespect of the nation”. He alleged that as soon as Shehbaz took charge as the prime minister, he removed all Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) officers who were pursuing the money laundering case against him and his sons. He also repeated his claim about the circumstances surrounding the death of former FIA director Muhammad Rizwan, who was probing money laundering charges against Shehbaz.

He had alleged that Rizwan had died of a heart attack due to the “immense pressure” he faced from Punjab CM Hamza. He claimed that another FIA officer involved in the case had also suffered a heart attack.

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