LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said that he does not trust the caretaker Punjab government; it has changed its stance by saying that they were not looking for terrorists but only people who were ‘wanted’ at his residence in Zaman Park.
While addressing the media after holding a meeting with a delegation sent by the caretaker Punjab government here on Friday, the former Prime Minister said that the government was claiming that they were hunting down wanted people and not terrorists, adding that if they want to arrest wanted men then they already have them. “They have arrested 7,500 of our ‘wanted’ workers; anyone associated with his party was a ‘wanted person’ right now,” he added.
He averred that when the delegation came, he told them that come inside and look for themselves, there was no wanted person here. “I asked the authorities if they wanted to look for terrorists then why were they insistent on searching my house? However, I would only ‘allow’ a search operation at my residence if a way similar to that suggested by the Lahore High Court previously was adopted. It had allowed one person from their side, one person from our side and a female officer to search my house,” he said, adding that they would only allow this because they do not trust them.
He told the media that the delegation told him that all household members would have to leave the house and then they would search the residence. He also feared that if the police personnel, with a heavy contingent, come to raid his house, then they might ‘plant people or material’ at his house, as they did before. “We would take this up this matter in the court,” he added.
On this occasion, he demanded evidence of PTI involvement in the May 9 violence, saying that if anyone from the PTI was involved he would help the police to catch them. “However, this was not the case; all this was being done to crush the PTI. There were videos of Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Yasmin Rashid where they were asking people to stay peaceful,” he added.
Referring to the arrests of the party workers, the PTI chief said that you could not crush an ideology by beating people or putting them behind bars. “Whatever the thought or whoever the person behind this, they fail to understand that an ideology penetrates people’s hearts and a political party could never be eliminated by use of brute force. Whoever is taking these decisions (regarding action against the PTI), I want to give them a suggestion, you could not crush ideology by beating and jailing people,” he added.
He observed that the crackdown on his party would only increase his party’s vote bank; “those who were behind the crackdown of party leaders should know such action would only increase the vote bank of the PTI”. He also complained about blocking the live broadcast of his address on television; “our government never resorted to such tactics”.
He also feared for the wellbeing of anchorperson Imran Riaz, saying he (Riaz), whose whereabouts have been unknown for over a week now, was badly tortured under custody. “I fear that he may not even be alive,” he said, adding that journalists should stand up for their fellows and recalled the oppression of journalist Arshad Sharif. To a question, he said that he does not need NRO (amnesty) and he is not leaving the country. “Everything that I own was in Pakistan,” he added.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023