Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan announced on Sunday that his party's power show at Minar-e-Pakistan would take place on Wednesday, March 22, Aaj News reported.
“We are doing a massive jalsa at Minar-e-Pakistan on Wednesday. And I want the whole country to see, it will be a referendum on where the public stands. Everyone will know where the nation stands and where the cabal of crooks and their handlers stand,” he said in a televised address.
The PTI chief had earlier announced the power show on Sunday, (March 19) but the Lahore High Court had directed the PTI to reschedule its rally and have a dialogue with the administration.
During his address, Imran lashed out at Inspector General (IG) Punjab Police and other officers involved in an "attack" at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.
Imran said the police broke down the gate and his walls while only his wife, Bushra Bibi, and a select few servants were present.
“I want to ask everyone, police, army officers, the judges of this country and the people [about] the respect of chaddor and char dewari in Islam.”
Imran said there was video proof that officials carrying out the operation “looted” his home. “Is the police supposed to loot homes? They looted whatever they found. Do you not have any shame?”
At the outset of his address, the PTI chief said he wanted to speak to people last night, but he couldn’t because of technical issues. “It was good that I didn’t because I was angry. And a person should not talk when angry,” he said.
Imran asked what exactly his crime was. He said the nation knows he always abided by the law; nonetheless, the “fascist regime” registered 96 cases against him.
The PTI chief said more cases are registered against him whenever he leaves the house. "Who is doing this? The criminals responsible for doing this to the country register cases against me.”
He alleged that the coalition government was behind the attempt on his life in Wazirabad, adding that they had the backing of “handlers.”
Lashing out at interim Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, Imran said: “He considers Zardari a father. What would his character be then?”
Giving a recap of the past couple of weeks, the former premier said elections were announced for April 30, after which his party decided to initiate its election campaign by holding a rally in Lahore on March 8.
“On the night of March 7, we finalised every detail with the police of how the rally would proceed. We got permission. The next day, as we are about to start, the interim government imposed section 144 and police appeared clad in riot control gear.
"How can Section 144 be imposed after the announcement of elections," Imran asked. "Has this happened before in Pakistan’s history?”
Imran said that when the rally started moving towards Zaman Park, police used water cannons and tear gas against PTI workers. Subsequently, he cancelled the rally by 5 pm because “I knew that they are trying to make the situation deteriorate.”
Regarding the police operation at Zaman Park, Imran said it all began because he asked for his hearing to be shifted from an Islamabad court due to security concerns.
“F-8 Kachery is a death trap,” he said, adding that arrest warrants were issued for him. He said that a huge “army” arrived at his Lahore residence over warrants issued by a magistrate. "Arrest warrants of interior minister Rana Sanaullah were also issued, but no action was taken."
He said the police fired hundreds of tear gas shells, "rubber bullets, and even real bullets" at PTI workers outside his Zaman Park residence.
“There were constant attacks at my home. Has this ever happened before in the history of Pakistan?”
Imran said that he was ready to surrender himself to the police, but the party workers stopped him because they feared that they [the government] would harm him.
Speaking about the turn of events on Saturday, Imran asked if he just had to mark his attendance in a court in Islamabad, why his home was being attacked from three sides. “Rangers were arriving in armoured vehicles, coming in after jumping over walls like some commando action is taking place.”
“Yesterday, when I left my house, I said goodbyes to my wife. I knew that I’d either be arrested or killed. With that thought in mind, I left my home.”
He said that when he reached the toll plaza, police had closed the motorway. “Only one lane was open. They had in mind that once my car leaves, they will close it behind me so that rest of the cars cannot follow […] the whole of Islamabad was closed down as if for a major criminal.”
Imran said the government had either planned to single out and kill him on his way to the judicial complex, or they wanted to arrest and shift him to Balochistan.
"Somehow, people came out to receive and protect me. When we got close to the judicial complex, police started firing tear gas shells relentlessly. We waited outside the judicial complex despite the worsening situation.
He said he knew they will try to kill him in the crossfire had he left his car. "They have long planned to kill me, and I have been exposing their plans for two months," he added.