‘Not afraid of going to jail’: Imran tells government

PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Tuesday warned the government that whether it puts his party members in jail or employs other tactics, PTI’s movement against the government would not stop.

“The way they tortured us was not even witnessed during the martial law eras,” Khan, who was ousted from the prime minister’s office in April, told a gathering of lawyers at Bani Gala. The ex-prime minister was talking about the events leading up to May 26 – when Khan had announced to call off his “Azadi March” as he feared further bloodshed. Ahead of him reaching Islamabad’s D-Chowk on the day, three people were killed – a police constable and two PTI workers.

“The government is trying to throw me in jail to stop our movement […] but I am telling you, whether you put us in jails or resort to other measures, this movement will not stop,” the former prime minister said.

Last Sunday, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah revealed that the decision to deploy security officials at Bani Gala to guard the PTI chairman was made as per the law, however, the “same security” officials will arrest him once his bail expires.

Khan vowed that PTI would not call off its anti-government movement and said that it would continue until the date for the next general elections is announced. The incumbent government, however, has ruled out snap polls and said that it would complete its tenure.

The ex-prime minister said he needed lawyers the most at this time to strengthen the movement. “It is the lawyers and the judiciary’s responsibility to ensure that the rule of law is upheld in the country.” The PTI chairman said the “incumbent government was imposed on us through a conspiracy” and that was why his party was protesting. He told the gathering that this was a “decisive” time for the Pakistani nation.

Khan criticised the coalition government and said that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son – Chief Minister Punjab Hamza Shahbaz – were about to be “convicted”. The ex-prime minister said as soon as the incumbent government officials go out to meet the masses, they start chanting slogans of “traitors” to insult them.

Khan, criticising the government further, said during the PTI’s tenure, the gross domestic product (GDP) was at 5.6% in the third year and 6% in the fourth year. He said international credit rating agency Moody’s has changed Pakistan’s economic outlook to negative, following which, Pakistan will not get loans from money lenders. “This government has put the country’s future at stake.”

The ousted prime minister told the government that it should take a stern stance on the matter of Holy Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) blasphemy in India and should end its “friendship and business” with New Delhi. Khan further suggested that the government should boycott Indian products.