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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) secretary-general Asad Umar on Saturday made it clear to the government that in case of any attempt to arrest former prime minister Imran Khan or threat to his life, neither the party leadership nor Imran himself would be able to stop party workers from giving a harsh reaction.

Speaking at a presser, along with PTI central information secretary Farrukh Habib, he claimed that he received a call from a “very senior administration officer” at around 5pm on Friday – hours before the PTI chairman was scheduled to address a rally in Multan – in which the officer cautioned Umar that there was a “very serious threat”.

Umar said he spoke to Imran and recommended that bulletproof arrangements be made.

“Late Friday night at 3am, in the darkness of the night, a police team arrived at Imran Khan’s Banigala residence for a survey. They found time at 3am in the morning after issuing a threat letter 10 days ago. Who are they trying to befool? They already knew Imran was not there,” he regretted.

“If they came to give a message that they could do even this and Imran Khan would be frightened ... Imran is a remote possibility, you cannot even frighten the youth standing with me,” he added.

Umar said that the more the new government showed their intent to use force, the greater the party’s reaction would be, adding Imran Khan and PTI believe in peaceful politics and the rule of law.

“PTI never attacked the Supreme Court, never created a bench at the Quetta registry and then orchestrated a decision against a sitting chief justice of Pakistan, never attempted to hijack the plane of a serving army chief,” he added.

Instead, the party and Imran Khan’s strength lay in the country’s people and the PTI chairman had no intention of using violence, he said, adding but “I want to tell you. God forbid, even if an attempt is made to arrest Imran Khan or threaten his life, you will be responsible for what happens in Pakistan”.

“Forget us, even Imran Khan will not be able to hold them [the PTI workers] back,” he warned.

Umar said the protection of the head of Pakistan’s largest political party and future PM was the responsibility of the government.

Referring to PML-N vice president Maryam Nawaz, he said that if steps could be taken for the protection of a person who has not held public office and is not the head of a political party, has been convicted and is out on bail, the primary responsibility for Imran Khan’s safety also fell on the government.

“All institutions that can provide protection...it is everyone’s responsibility to protect Imran Khan’s life and take whatever steps that are needed,” he added.

He asked the incumbent government to not test the country, saying there was only one simple, democratic and constitutional way out, which was to announce the date for the general elections.

Umar also criticised Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying he pitied him because the prime minister did not know who had brought him into power or what to do.

“He [Shehbaz] has no authority. Yesterday, he asked businessmen what he should do. If you do not know what to do, why are you sitting as prime minister,” he added.

He then repeated his warning saying that if any attempt was made to arrest or harm Imran Khan, the government should not ask the PTI for help because “we will not be able to control Pakistan”.

Earlier in the day, party leader Usman Dar claimed Islamabad Police reached Imran’s Banigala residence with a prison van but went back after seeing a huge number of Imran’s tigers.

“Listen carefully…! We’re not afraid of the prison van. We ran a trailer in Sialkot, the film is still left,” he tweeted.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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