Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday threatened to take action against police who had “oppressed” his party during its protest on May 25 if his party returned to power. Curiously, despite having a government in Punjab for six months prior to dissolving the provincial assembly, the PTI took no action against these officials.
“I want to tell the police who oppressed us on May 25: God willing, no matter what they do, our government will be formed. This time you will not be spared for violating our fundamental rights. This is my promise,” he warned in a televised address ostensibly aimed at updating supporters on the “Jail Bharo” movement that launched in Lahore earlier in the day.
Despite brief references to the Jail Bharo movement—in which he thanked the people of Lahore for supporting it and claimed it had “broken the shackles of fear”—the majority of the nearly-20 minute address focused on the ruling coalition and its announced austerity measures, aimed at saving Rs. 200 billion. “If you want to do something [for Pakistan], then bring your money back from abroad,” he said via video-link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore.
Urging the ruling coalition to “stop fooling people” he claimed that he had believed the press conference would include “major decisions” rather than empty measures. Recalling that the incumbent government had come into power with vows of fixing the country, he claimed it had proven worse for the country than even its enemies. “Industries have shut down and people have become unemployed. You and your facilitators are responsible for this inflation,” he said, reiterating claims of his ouster as prime minister being achieved through a “conspiracy” that once again primarily targets political leaders and not the U.S., the Army, or Punjab caretaker chief minister Mohsin Naqvi, as he has also alleged at various times.
Referring to elections in Punjab and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Khan reiterated that polls must take place within 90 days of a provincial assembly’s dissolution. “The caretaker government cannot exist after 90 days. If polls are delayed after 90 days, then the nation will have to step outside,” he said, reiterating threats of mass agitation. Claiming his party would come into power no matter what happens—a seeming rejection of democratic principles—he maintained it was now the nation’s responsibility to “protect this country’s Constitution.”
The PTI chief also directed his ire toward Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sikandar Sultan Raja, who he said should be tried under Article 6 for not issuing a date for elections—which the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) is not constitutionally empowered to do.