ISLAMABAD: Upping the ante, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman and former premier Imran Khan Saturday urged the party leadership, workers and supporters to get ready for “Jail Bharo Tehreek” (Voluntary Imprisonment Movement), saying that he would make the announcement in this regard soon.
The former premier while announcing a new movement against the coalition government following the arrests of PTI leaders, said that the party leaders and workers should wait for his signal. The PTI chief said that the movement would convey to the ruling alliance which side the public stands with.
The PTI chairman while addressing his supporters via video link asked the workers and his party leaders to start preparation for the movement. Imran said that the ruling coalition was using tactics to delay the general elections, saying he never saw an interim government in the country’s political history which was allegedly busy targeting the opponents.
In October last year, Imran had also announced a similar movement against the coalition government in an attempt to force the government to announce date for snap polls. However, it didn’t materialise. During the 2014 sit-in, Imran had also announced a civil disobedient movement.
In the televised address, Imran also warned against any move to delay the elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkwa (KP).
Imran said the governors of the provinces are supposed to give date for new elections so that polls could be held in the within 90 days of the dissolution of the provincial legislatures.
“I was advised against dissolving assemblies but I did it keeping in mind that Constitution requires elections to be held within 90 days,” he added.
The PTI chief also claimed that “powerful quarters” used several tactics including intimidation to avert the dissolution of the Punjab Assembly. “But despite all this, we secured confidence vote and dissolve assembly.”
Imran said despite the passage of 18 days of the dissolution of the provincial assemblies, the Punjab and KP governors have not yet given a date to the ECP for new elections.
“After 90 days, the Article 6 will be applied to all those who are part of this [interim] governments if new elections are not held,” he warned.
Separately, in a meeting with PML-Q leader Pervaiz Elahi, Imran held “some other people” responsible for the latest arrests of PTI leaders.
Imran in the meeting said the coalition government is not concerned about law and order situation but to crush its opponents.
Without naming anyone, he said “some other people” are behind the vindictive actions of the government. The matter of elections of Punjab and KP assemblies also came under discussion during the meeting.
The former premier said the incumbent government will have to hold elections in both the provinces within 90 days failing which they will be tried under Article 6 for violating the Constitution.
The Govt responds
The announcement of Jail Bharo Tehreek soon drew reaction from the government side where Federal Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb chided the PTI leadership by saying that it didn’t even have the courage to go to jail and the announcement was merely to use party workers.
The government’s spokesperson threw a gauntlet to PTI leadership to lead by example and go to jail before the party workers and supporters. Before that, the information minister challenged the PTI leadership to first surrender before the courts and withdraw bails taken in different cases.
As she was addressing media, PTI’s vice chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi vowed that the party would fill all the jails of Pakistan on Imran’s call, saying this way the “fascist imported government’s wish” would be fulfilled. He said that the handcuff and torture was nothing and they could lay life for the motherland.
During the press conference, Marriyum while referring to Imran said that a man was repeating the same speech that he has been giving for the past 20 years. However, she said, it was not easy to mislead the people of Pakistan.
During PTI rule, Marriyum said that Imran put opposition and journalists in jails, saying Imran even went to America and talked about taking revenge from political opponents. She said that people of Pakistan were in trouble due to the wrong decisions of Imran-led government.
Calling Imran “coward”, Marriyum said that he was hiding in Zaman Park, Lahore, and busy shielding workers for his politics. In the Jail Bharo Tehreek, she said, the leadership is the first to go to jail.
“Imran Khan does not have the courage for the jail bhaor movement,” Marriyum said, saying it would be better for Imran to go to the courts and face the cases pending against him.
Emphasising that the ruling government understood the plight of the people, she said that Imran brought the country to the brink of bankruptcy and the incumbent government had to implement the agreements made by Imran.