Home Latest News PTI Resumes Long March as Imran Khan Reiterates Accusations over Wazirabad

PTI Resumes Long March as Imran Khan Reiterates Accusations over Wazirabad

Party moves court to register new FIR over shooting, as road blockades causing problems for general public continue

by Staff Report

Screengrab of the PTI chief’s video statement to the long march

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) resumed its long march after a week’s pause on Thursday, picking up where it had been suspended in Wazirabad after a gunman opened fire on the party’s container, injuring several party leaders including chief Imran Khan.

The revived long march is being led by the PTI’s senior leadership, including Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi and Secretary General Asad Umar, with an aim to reach Rawalpindi in the next 10-14 days. The party has already announced that its convoys from across Pakistan would converge on the garrison city, where Khan would rejoin the march.

Addressing the march via video-link from his home at Lahore’s Zaman Park—where he is convalescing after being injured in the shooting—Khan reiterated his calls for the general public to join his party’s demonstrations, as well as allegations of a senior Army officer orchestrating the attempt on his life.

“Army officer Maj. Gen. Faisal Naseer masterminded and monitored my assassination plan,” he alleged, questioning why the official was “above the law.” Calling on Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to investigate and uphold justice to ensure the country did not become a “banana republic,” he reiterated his demands for a probe into how a former prime minister was unable to get a first information report (FIR) registered against an Army officer he believed to have conspired against him.

Recalling that the military’s media wing had described his allegations as an “insult” to the armed forces, he claimed that the “real insult” to the institution was if it failed to act against any accused or believed itself above the law. “If an ex-PM is not able to get an FIR registered as per his information then one can imagine what will happen to a common man in Pakistan,” he said, while still refusing to provide any evidence of his allegations beyond information provided by “agencies’ personnel.”

Reiterating his allegations of Maj. Gen. Naseer and Inter-Services Intelligence Islamabad Sector Commander Brig. Faheem “unleashing torture on us [PTI] as if we were terrorists” after being posted to the federal capital, he added: “If such people remain here, terrorism will not be controlled, but will grow.”

The ousted prime minister also urged the Supreme Court to probe the “humiliation” of Senator Azam Swati and the killing of journalist Arshad Sharif in Kenya. Referring to videos allegedly showing marks of torture on Sharif’s body, he questioned how these were obtained by a TV anchor while the deceased’s mother had yet to be provided a copy of his postmortem report. “Only the Supreme Court can investigate this, as the nation has lost faith in the credibility of investigating agencies,” he claimed, while alleging that police in Punjab were being “controlled from somewhere else.”

The PTI chief also reiterated his claims of being aware of the threats to his life since September and claimed that a forensic report on the shooting incident had determined there were two shooters. He alleged that “some” Army officers, in addition to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, had planned to blame his assassination attempt on religious fanaticism.

Vowing that the long march would not pause again, he claimed it would gain in strength and not conclude until it had ensured accountability for all.

FIR amendment

Also on Thursday, the PTI filed a petition in the Wazirabad Sessions Court for the registration of a FIR over the shooting in accordance with Khan’s wishes. Earlier, Punjab police had registered a FIR that had not named the three people Khan accuses of “orchestrating” the attack on him, with the party “rejecting” the case as a “mockery of justice.”

In a separate statement, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah appealed to local leaders and parliamentarians of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) to work at reducing the difficulties being faced by the public due to the closure of roads by PTI workers in provinces under their party’s control.

Maintaining that PTI workers were closing roads with the facilitation of police, he said this was hurting people’s business and causing them difficulty in reaching schools, hospitals and other matters of importance. Warning that the people’s patience was running out, he said a “handful” of people could not be allowed to hamper people’s livelihoods without hindrance.

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