Imran Khan announces PTI’s exit from all assemblies

— CMs of KP, Punjab, GB on board, vow support to party decision

— Alleges three shooters were tasked to assassinate him

RAWALPINDI: Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Saturday said that his party would not remain part of the existing assemblies and its lawmakers would resign from all the assemblies.

“I would announce the date for resignations after consulting chief ministers and the parliamentary party leaders. We will not remain part of this corrupt political system. I have spoken to my party chief ministers and soon we will announce a [formal] decision in this regard,” former premier said while addressing a mammoth gathering of party workers and supporters here at Rawalpindi Jalsa on Saturday.

It was first public appearance of Khan who had been injured in a failed assassination bid on his life during the long march a few weeks back in Wazirabad, district Gujranwala. Khan, who flew into Rawalpindi from his Lahore residence, used a walker due to injured leg.

Imran Khan said that he had an option to march on Islamabad to press the federal government to get his demands met but chose not to create chaos and anarchy in the country which is already suffering due to economic downturn.

PML-Q reassures Khan for supporting decision

PML-Q leader and elder son of Punjab Chief Minister Ch Moonis Elahi was quick to lend support to Imran Khan’s decision by posting a tweet on social media blogging site, Twitter.

“Allah Almighty had honoured us on July 27 and Ch Parvez Elahi was made chief minister. Since then we are running government on bonus. We stand by our promise. The moment Imran Khan would order, Punjab Assembly would be dissolved forthwith In Shaa Allah,” Tweeted Moonis.

At the outset of his address, the former prime minister urged the party workers and supporters to free themselves from the fear of death if they wanted to live freely.

Referring to the incident of Imam Hussain’s (A.S) martyrdom, Imran Khan said that the people of Kufa did not come to his help due to fear of reprisal from the authorities. “Fear makes an entire nation into slaves”.

The former prime minister said everyone had advised him when he was leaving for Rawalpindi not to do so due to his injured leg as well as severe life threats.

He claimed that “three criminals” – whom he accuses of being behind the Wazirabad attack – were waiting for another assassination attempt. He said he had a close encounter with death, calling on the gathered crowd to make their faith stronger.

While praising the nation, Imran Khan said: “Many prime ministers come and go but public never came out in such large number like they gathered here for me”.

“There would be no difference between animals and humans if people of the country accepted the rulers who came to power through ‘NRO’,” he added.

He reiterated that overseas Pakistanis were standing with him because they are aware of the importance of the rule of law. “Pakistan is in a difficult situation today due to the absence of rule of law” he added.

Criticising the Sharifs and Zardaris, he said these two families were responsible for weakening Pakistan’s institutions in a bid to protect their “looted wealth”.

He further said that prosperous societies had a rule of law while developing countries were afflicted by no regard for the law which explained their problems.

‘PTI government’s performance’

The former premier noted that his government had successfully revived the country’s ailing economy despite all challenges including Covid-19. He recalled his government’s economic performance and initiatives such as the health card.

He noted that his party was the first to realise the dangers of climate change and work in this regard. “My government had planted trees under the Billion Tree Tsunami and Ten Billion Tree Tsunami programmes to tackle climate change,” he added.

“During the Covid-19, the opposition relentlessly criticised my government and demanded to impose a lockdown,” he said. However, he said, the then-opposition could not respond to his questions about what would happen to daily wagers and labourers.

The deposed premier earlier landed in Islamabad for the ‘climax’ of the Haqeeqi Azadi march and arrived in Rawalpindi to address his first public gathering after being injured in a gun attack earlier this month.

“When I was leaving for Rawalpindi from Lahore, everyone advised me against travelling due to wounds in my leg,” the former PM said at the start of his address.

Secondly, Imran said his aides also warned him not to address the public rally in Rawalpindi as “three culprits holding top portfolios will attempt again to kill me”.

“Many prime ministers come and go but public never came out in such large number like they gathered here for me,” he added.

Imran said there would be no difference between animals and humans if people of the country accepted the rulers who came to power through ‘NRO’.

“No society can prosper where there is no rule of law.”

Imran said overseas Pakistanis are standing with him because they are aware of the importance of the rule of law.

“If Pakistan is in difficult situation today it’s not because we are short of resources but due to the absence of rule of law.”

Imran said families like Sharifs and Zardaris are responsible for weakening Pakistan’s institutions in a bid to protect their “looted wealth”.

“I felt ashamed when I had to ask for loans from other countries when I was prime minister.”

Despite all challenges including Covid-19, Imran said his government successfully revived the country’s ailing economy.

“What crime did we commit that our government was toppled through foreign conspiracy,” he asked.

However, Imran admitted that he failed to bring powerful under the law. “Because NAB was under the control of establishment and they [NAB] told me that all cases were ready but they were not receiving orders from the top”.

“Establishment told me to focus on economy and stop pursuing corruption cases… they did not consider corruption wrong. Those who had power did not consider corruption bad.

“Establishment was not part of conspiracy but they did not stop their [then opposition] conspiracy to come to power.”

‘There were three shooters’

The former premier claimed that three shooters were deployed in Wazirabad for his assassination plot.

“Mozzam was shot dead by third shooter… a third shooter was there to kill the [prime suspect] so that he does not open his mouth,” he said while likening attempt on his life to the assassination of late prime minster Liaquat Ali Khan.

‘Country is mine, army is mine’

Imran said he criticised institutions including military establishment and judiciary because “I have to live and die here”.

“My criticism of institutions is positive. I want to strengthen the defence of the country. This country is mine… army is mine.”

“I will fight for the country till the last drop of my blood. I want my country to achieve real freedom. History will bear witness that Imran Khan fought for the country till the last ball.”

He said the one who increased his assets and violated human rights will be judged by history as whether his actions benefited or caused harm to the country.

“Freedom has to be snatched. No one serves it out on plate. My movement for real freedom will continue until we free our people from [slavery].”

All CMs on board for resignation decision: Qureshi

PTI vice chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi told media following the announcement that all CMs of PTI were on board with the party decision and CM Gilgit Baltistan Khakid Khursheed Khan was also part of the consultation process.

“All party CMs would dissolve assemblies as and when the party chief takes a formal decision,” he asserted.

Mian Abrar
Mian Abrar
The writer heads Pakistan Today's Islamabad Bureau. He has a special focus on counter-terrorism and inter-state relations in Asia, Asia Pacific and South East Asia regions. He tweets as @mian_abrar and also can be reached at [email protected]

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