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LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has pinned his hopes on the judiciary by asking it to play its role in protecting the people’s fundamental rights; “the nation was looking to the Supreme Court and Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial for justice, which was not possible after the present rulers”.

The former Prime Minister expressed these views while addressing a press conference through a video link here on Wednesday, following the arrest of PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry.

While criticising the arrest of Chaudhry, he averred that in a democracy, no one should be arrested for expressing their thoughts, adding that the coalition government only wants to silence voices who speak against it. He alleged that Pakistan has become a ‘banana republic’ and was operating on a ‘might is right’ formula.

Khan warned the nation that it was standing at a critical juncture; one path leads to prosperity that involves sacrifice and struggles while the other path leads to destruction. He emphasized that the country could not continue on its current path. “The people need to take their destiny into their own hands and struggle for a better Pakistan,” he added.

He also asked the nation to look into the reasons for the state of devastation the country finds itself in right now despite having everything and blamed the situation on the prevailing injustice in the country. “Pakistan has no future the way it is being run and for the first time, the people have started losing hope in the country,” he added.

“The prospect of me going to jail does not frighten me and people should also not fear of ending up in jail. Follow the path of Allah and wage a struggle for your rights,” he added.

Addressing the judiciary and legal community, Khan urged them to stand for the rule of law in Pakistan. “Right now the country is witnessing unprecedented violations of fundamental rights and in the past, the judiciary has failed to safeguard our rights. Now, the courts should play their role of protecting the fundamental right otherwise history would never forgive them,” he added

Khan vowed to fight till the last ball and he would not accept the supremacy of an ‘imported and corrupt regime’. He also said that the ‘institution’ does not realise that the country’s sovereignty would be compromised if it became economically weak and cited examples of Sri Lanka and Egypt how the government of both countries had to accede to the orders of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) regarding armed forces. He wondered how the ‘institutions’ could back the ‘cabal of crooks’ after a regime change conspiracy.

Accusing the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) of not remaining neutral, the PTI chief claimed that the Election Commission nominated Mohsin Naqvi as the caretaker Punjab Chief Minister without considering his past. Thus, he questioned the ECP’s commitment to holding free and fair elections. He also accused Naqvi of being a key player in the ‘regime change conspiracy’ against his government and criticised the reshuffle in the Punjab bureaucracy, calling it ‘similar to pre-poll rigging’. “Naqvi just did what was expected of him after his appointment, he cherry-picked those police officers who tortured the PTI workers in May 2022. One could not expect such a person to hold free and fair elections. Hence, we have decided to take legal action against Naqvi’s appointment,” he added.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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