Will begin march to Islamabad if victimisation of PTI workers not stopped: Imran Khan warns government

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan has warned the government that he would begin a massive agitation march to Islamabad if political victimisation against his party continues.
Addressing a public gathering in Gujrat in the country’s most populous Punjab province, Khan said that workers of his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party were unnecessarily being targeted ever since he was ousted as the prime minister through a no-confidence motion in April this year, The Express Tribune newspaper reported on Saturday.
“Freedom movement will march towards Islamabad if the incumbent government did not stop targeting PTI supporters,” he was quoted as saying in the report.
“I am warning you [PML-N-led coalition government] today, our justice movement will come to Islamabad if you continue to do this [political victimisation] and you will have nowhere to hide,” he added.
Khan has recently upped the ante after a few of his party workers, including his close aide Shahbaz Gill, were arrested on charges of sedition.
The 69-year-old PTI chairman lashed out at the government for its alleged use of force on Gill, saying that he was stripped naked and tortured.
“They also tortured [journalist] Jameel Farooqui. Stripped him naked and humiliated him as well. Haleem Adil also has many cases against him. He is also being tortured in prison,” Khan said.
During Friday’s address, Khan told the youth that together they need to work to make the judicial system of the country better.
“You all have to come with me for that. When I started my journey 26 years ago, we said the judiciary should be independent so it will protect the rights of the people. I was the only political leader who was put behind bars during the judicial movement. We boycotted 2008 elections for the judiciary,” he said.
Meanwhile, President Arif Alvi on Friday urged political parties to pause their political activities owing to the devastating floods, saying any narrative that created divisions within national institutions was not in the national interest.
The Dawn newspaper reported that the president also urged all stakeholders to launch a nationwide drive to mobilise the nation.
Alvi said although as the president he did not have a constitutional obligation to play a role to defuse the current political polarisation, he would volunteer in his personal capacity to mediate between them over major issues like the next elections, a consensus-based economic charter, and the way forward on making key appointments.
“Businesses, civil society and humanitarian organisations should assist the civil and military administrations in their rescue and relief efforts to rehabilitate the flood victims and for the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure,” the president said.
Pakistan is currently passing through a bitter political divide as Khan had refused to halt anti-government and break bread with the government despite devastating floods.
Khan has also recently been criticised for holding public rallies when the majority of the country is reeling under devastating floods that have destroyed farmlands and claimed the lives of over 1,200 people.
However, the cricketer-turned politician has defended himself saying that his fight is for ‘haqeeqi azadi’ (real freedom).

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