Sunday, May 21, 2023
In view of the government’s move to try May 9 rioters in military and anti-terrorism courts, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday accused efforts were being made to "impose a ban" on his party in the country.
He made the remarks during an exclusive interview with CNN. “In order to keep me out [of politics], the entire democratic system is being dismantled,” said the former prime minister — who was ousted from office via a vote o no-confidence in April last year.
It is pertinent to mention here that, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah on May 13 said that there was no other option but to impose a ban on the PTI following three-day-long violent protests that erupted following the arrest of Khan on May 9.
The violent protests were triggered almost across the country after the PTI chairman was arrested in the £190 million Al-Qadir Trust case which led to the deaths of at least 10 people and injured several others, prompting the authorities to arrest thousands of PTI workers.
During the protests, the miscreants attacked the civil and military installations including – Corps Commander's House (Jinnah House) in Lahore Cantt and the General Headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi.
The military called May 9 "Black Day" and has decided to try the protesters under the Army Act, with Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir saying that the legal process in this regard has already begun.
In addition to this, ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Senior Vice President Maryam Nawaz had also urged the government to deal with the PTI as a terrorist organisation.
In a hard-hitting press conference in Lahore on March 17, the PML-N leader lashed out at the former premier for creating a “scene” at his Zaman Park residence, saying Khan announced a "revolt against the state institutions". She also called for banning the party.
During the interview with the international media, Khan said that the government had refused the Supreme Court's order for holding the general elections in Punjab on May 14, accusing the ruling allience — Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — of violating the Constitution and the verdict of the apex court.
He said that even the national elections which are scheduled in October, the government would not hold the polls until they are certain that the PTI will not win. “Because they are scared that the PTI and I [Khan] will be back into power, everything is being done to dismantle our democracy.”
Referring to the ongoing crackdown against the party leadership, the deposed premier said that there is no rule of law in the country, adding that his party’s entire leadership is in jail.
“We are heading towards a law of the jungle,” Khan added.
Responding to a question, he said, “How can you win by taking on your own army? Even if you win, it is a pyrrhic victory. The country loses.”
“I never had a problem with the Army,” he added.
During the past 60 years of governance in the country, Khan said, half had been ruled by the army and half by the two families — Bhuttos and Sharifs.
The PTI chief also said that he could not understand till today what was the purpose of toppling his government.