PESHAWAR: After a chaotic episode during the first phase of the long march, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday demanded the Supreme Court of Pakistan to assure ‘protection’ for the second phase of the long march.
Addressing a PTI lawyers’ convention in Peshawar on Monday, the former premier Imran Khan ruled out suggestions of a deal being struck behind closed doors for calling off the long march and explained the reason for the move.
Imran said the people supporting him were furious at the government, and he feared that clashes could break out between the security personnel and PTI workers.
PTI chairman said he did not want the people to develop animosity towards the police and paramilitary Rangers, who had fired tear gas shells at them.
Therefore, the former prime minister demanded the top court to explain on what basis they were stopped at various locations from advancing on to the federal capital Islamabad and ensure that a repeat will not happen in the future. “Supreme Court should give a ruling. I have to give a date [for another long march] to the people,” Imran said.
However, he explained that getting a favourable ruling from the Supreme Court would be one strategy. If not, he stated that their alternate strategy will include long marchers preparing to remove all obstacles placed in their path.
Referring to the Sharif family, the PTI chairman said the Sicilian Mafia would only frighten people to consolidate its rule and hamper protests, adding that this mafia could either ‘buy’ loyalties of the people or ‘eliminate’ them.
He expressed that it was his experience that the more coward a person is, the crueller they are.
He recalled that the display of ‘barbarism’ by the government on participants of the long march was not even seen during former dictator General Pervez Musharraf’s era when the Lawyers Movement took place.
He said a country cannot progress without the rule of law, adding that the lawyers and judiciary have a responsibility to uphold the law. He said the ‘thieves’ installed at the top of the government will shred the rule of law in the country for their benefit.
Referring to an interview of an FIA official, he said a prosecutor namely Zulqarnain had allegedly confessed that he was stopped from prosecution in the Sharif family cases. “I wonder who stopped him when I was the chief executive.”
He recalled the investigators of FIA were removed by the ‘corrupt’ mafia as it came into power and some suffered heart attacks due to pressure. The PTI chief said such conduct of the rulers will only lead to the country’s destruction.
Imran reminded that it was the responsibility of the judiciary and the lawyers to uphold rule of law in the country, or else history will not forgive them.
He praised the Supreme Court for directly overseeing the corruption cases involving the Sharif family, suggesting that the jails should be opened, and small thieves should be set free if the ‘big fish’ escape action.
Lashing out at the US, Imran Khan said that more than 80,000 people have sacrificed their lives in war on terror but Washington didn’t even appreciate our sacrifices and also accused us of their failure in Afghanistan.
Reiterating his rhetoric, Imran once again said that India, despite being a strategic ally of the US, had purchased cheaper oil from Russia but lamented that this was made impossible for Pakistan through a US-backed conspiracy.
Khan went on to say that India’s foreign policy is independent, adding that they have never participated in anyone’s war. “I do not want bad relations with any country,” he said and added no one has ever investigated drone strikes as marriages, funerals, madrasas have been attacked, nor our rulers ever raised their voice on these issues.
Referring to the incident where some people gad chanted slogans against the incumbent government in Masjid-e-Nabawi, he ruled out any involvement of the PTI.
Pakistan, he said, is facing a ‘decisive moment’, adding that the almighty will judge the people as per their capacity to do things.
The former premier said the lawyers and the judiciary have an important role to play in the current situation of the country, adding that the lawyers’ community should consider their struggle for ‘Haqiqi Azadi’ (true independence) as a Jihad.
He said that this is a fight for real independence and it should be considered a ‘jihad’. He said his government was overthrown through conspiracy and people never come out in the history of the country in huge numbers against toppling of the government.
“Even those who hatched conspiracy against us are surprised by the number of people supporting PTI’s struggle for real independence,” he said.
The PTI chairman said, “I had said that we will be friends with everyone and will support peace but no war.” The PTI chairman said morality is the basis of democracy in the West, adding that doing away with it would leave no essence in the democracy. This, he termed, was the primary reason people distributed sweets after martial laws were imposed by toppling democratic governments in the past as such administrations were corrupt.
However, he said history had changed this time with people coming out to protest when the PTI government was ousted.
Imran Khan said past governments were subdued by the foreign powers and did not utter a word about the drone strikes in the tribal areas, adding that ‘no compromise’ on the interests of the country was an integral part of his foreign policy.
He said the former dictator Musharraf should not have bowed before the US and must have asked why Pakistan should become part of a foreign war.