Former Pakistani Prime Minister and PTI Chief Imran Khan, in a fiery speech to his supporters from his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park, criticized the country’s strong military establishment for meddling in politics and suggested that it should form its own political party. He also vented his frustration over the Inter-Services Public Relations’ (ISPR) baseless allegations against him and his party, and emphasized the need for tolerance over criticism, saying that any society that tolerates criticism progresses.
Imran Khan’s fiery speech came amid an ongoing crackdown on his party by the Pakistani government, which had recently arrested him on charges of fraud and terrorism. He had accused the police of illegally attacking his residence and looting his property while his wife was alone at home during a raid earlier in the year.
In his speech, Imran Khan accused the government of trying to create chaos and throwing PTI leaders and workers in jail. He also accused “unidentified persons” of firing straight shots at young protesters and instigating violence. He highlighted that such crackdown had been carried out in East Pakistan, adding that such actions could have dire consequences.
Khan called on the judges to refuse orders from the “handlers” and choose freedom, urging them to question the legality of such orders and refuse to follow them. He also urged media outlets to reject orders from them and follow the Constitution. He encouraged journalists to listen to their conscience and not be controlled by fear.
“I ask judges to refuse to obey the orders of these handlers. Say I will not follow your orders. Under what law are you ordering me?” he said. “The time has come to choose freedom.”
Imran Khan also clarified that the allegations were directed against a person who wanted to see a strong army. “I am not doing any drama here. My wealth is not hidden in some foreign country. I had 145 cases registered against me but I did not escape. Put me on ECL if you want as I am not going anywhere.”
The former prime minister further highlighted that he had been the recipient of the most charity because people trusted him. “You’re saying Imran is lying. You should be ashamed of yourself. I have been given the most charity because they trust me.”
Regarding the Al-Qadir Trust case, he stated that it was his intention to promote Seerat-e-Nabvi and build the university. He denied having any personal benefit from the university, and the whole drama was created based on a “fraud case”.
Khan also questioned the motive behind the protests, asking why people did not react in a similar manner when he was shot in Wazirabad. “In the Supreme Court, I came to know about the protests. When I was shot, why didn’t people react in such a way?” he questioned.
Imran expressed his gratitude to the judiciary for taking a stand, saying that it is the only avenue left to get justice. He called for an investigation into the protests and vandalism that occurred following his arrest on May 9, asking Chief Justice of Pakistan Umar Ata Bandial to lead the investigation and “personally” chair the panel.
“I want investigation for the ransacking of government buildings but not from them (government). I want the chief justice to create a panel which he should chair himself,” he said.
Final words Imran Khan’s speech was a bold call for accountability and transparency in Pakistani politics. He urged the country’s institutions to work within the bounds of the Constitution and to resist political interference from the military establishment. The former prime minister also called for an investigation into the protests and vandalism that occurred following his arrest, and expressed his gratitude to the judiciary for taking a stand.