Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday reiterated calls for the public to join his party’s “Haqiqi Azadi” movement, claiming this is the only means to “defeat” anti-Pakistan and anti-people forces.
In a televised address that was broadcast on a time-delay, he reiterated claims that his political opponents—PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari, PMLN leader Nawaz Sharif, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif—were “criminals” and were taking the country toward disaster. Alleging that the incumbent government wanted to instill fear in the public with the support of a “psychopath”—a likely reference to a military official he accuses of targeting PTI workers—he said this was aimed at ensuring his political rivals would emerge victorious in upcoming general elections.
“The official having counter-terrorism expertise has unleashed torture on political workers including Shahbaz Gill, Azam Swati, several journalists and even young social media activists,” he claimed, reiterated that they were tortured after being stripped naked.
Flanked by PTI leader Dr. Yasmin Rashid, the party chief also reiterated his anguish over the alleged torture inflicted on deceased worker Ali Bilal, also known as Zille Shah. Claiming a “special child” had been tortured and killed, he vowed to pursue a case against the caretaker Punjab chief minister, IG Police and CCPO Lahore over the death. He also lamented that he had been named in a case registered by police over the PTI worker’s killing.
Recalling that the PTI was aiming to launch its election campaign on Wednesday, he claimed police were deployed to prevent it in violation of the mandate of the caretaker government. “Party workers, including PTI central president and former health minister Dr. Yasmin Rashid, were blocked on Canal Road and her vehicle was damaged for no reason,” he claimed, adding the party workers had also been targeted with baton-charges, tear-gas shelling and water cannons.
“The incumbent rulers wanted to kill people and also planned to pick me and shift to Balochistan—to create fear among the masses,” he said, alleging that the oppression against his party was “worse than any martial law.”
The PTI chief also criticized the arrest of Bol News co-chairman Shoaib Shaikh—taken into custody over allegedly bribing a judge—claiming he was only arrested for “projecting” the PTI’s narrative. He likewise slammed the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa governor for not giving a date for polls in the province despite court orders directing him to do so.