ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan has alleged that the recent acts of vandalism, which ensued after his arrest on May 9, were a deliberate and orchestrated scheme aimed at discrediting the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, with the ultimate goal of branding it as a proscribed organisation.
Khan made these remarks during a speech delivered from his residence in Zaman Park, Lahore on Saturday.
According to Khan, the incidents were part of a larger conspiracy to undermine PTI’s standing.
“This was a well-planned conspiracy intended to weaken and eliminate PTI. The Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) knows that they cannot defeat PTI in elections. Therefore, they seek to label our party as a proscribed organisation. It is unfortunate that a party that has maintained a peaceful demeanour for over 27 years is being portrayed as a terrorist entity.”
Denouncing the allegations that he failed to condemn the violent protests as a “blatant lie”, Khan emphasised that during his appearance at the Supreme Court, he promptly expressed his unequivocal opposition to all forms of violence.
“I was shot, did I ever ask [party workers] to engage in violence? I mentioned the intelligence officer’s name, but did anyone do anything or set fire to any government buildings? When I got out, I came to know [about the violent protests]. I explicitly stated that I strongly condemn such actions. I have never given permission to my people to do anything other than peaceful protests,” he said.
He said that PTI workers tried to stop people who set the sabre jet on fire stationed at a roundabout in Mianwali. “We used to see it with pride. The aircraft was made of aluminum, so how did it catch fire? It was set ablaze by those who had brought something with them,” he claimed.
The former premier said that the police could have apprehended him without resorting to violence. “Was it necessary to use force and brutality? Was I sitting there as a terrorist? I am a former prime minister. They hit me on my head with a club,” he added.
He said that PTI leaders including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Asad Umar, Yasmin Rashid and others were giving calls for a peaceful protest following his arrest.
“How did the Radio Pakistan building catch fire? The protest was happening somewhere else. Outside the residence of the Corps Commander, a person was seen instigating people, and as soon as the gate opened, he disappeared from the scene,” he alleged.