- Khan says “If I am jailed again, I don’t want violence”.
- Says PDM was “petrified” of PTI, wanted to use violence to crush it.
- Says “army is an institution you don’t interfere with”.
After facing severe backlash for the May 9 vandalism, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has warned his supporters not to engage in violence in case he gets arrested again.
The former premier was arrested on May 9 on corruption charges in the Al-Qadir Trust case but walked free after a few days of incarceration. The surprise move triggered countrywide protests by the enraged supporters who resorted to violence and attacked government and military installations.
Taking strong notice of the ransacking that took place that day, the military vowed to try the instigators and perpetrators of violence under army laws. Since then, the party has been facing a crackdown against those involved in violent protests.
Despite several calls for condemnation, Khan took his time before finally condemning the vandalism at military installations.
In an interview with Al-Jazeera, the PTI chief expressed fears of re-arrest on Tuesday (May 23), the day he is due to appear before the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with an ongoing investigation regarding the settlement of 190 million pounds from the UK.
In another interview with CNN, Khan said, “On Tuesday, I am to appear in Islamabad for bail and there are 80% chances I will be arrested”.
However, the former premier has advised his supporters against vandalism if he is arrested again or else it would give the rulling alliance, Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) a narrative.
“If I am jailed again, I don’t want violence [as] it feeds into the narrative of the PDM,” he said.
He believes that the government was “petrified” of PTI’s popularity as all the surveys suggested his party would win with a two-thirds majority in the coming general elections.
“These parties are petrified of us, so they want to use violence to clamp down on us.
“Every [opinion] survey says we will win the elections with a two-thirds majority, so the government and the establishment want to crush PTI,” claimed the former PM
Moreover, the PTI chief reiterated that he was aware that the former army chief, General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa was going to topple his government. He said that he could have removed Bajwa from the army chief’s post if he wanted but interfering in military’s affairs was not what he wished.
“[The] army is an institution you don’t interfere with…,” he added.