Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Friday said that the reason for ending the party’s Azadi March was to avoid bloodshed and that no deal with the establishment took place.
“Our workers asked why we did not stage a sit-in. I am the man who staged a sit-in for 126 days. It was not difficult for me, but by the time I reached I became aware of the extent of the situation […] I knew that day that there would be bloodshed.”
Khan said the people were “ready” after seeing the “terrorism” carried out by the police. “Everyone was ready to fight, some of our people were so angered by what they saw,” he said, adding that officials were instructed to brutalise protesters.
“The anger at the time, if I had staged a sit-in that day I can guarantee that there would have been bloodshed,” said Khan, adding that there was a prevailing sense of hatred against police officials.
“But the police is also ours, it is not their fault,” the PTI chairman said, blaming the government for issuing the directives. If there was violence then it would only have caused chaos in the country, said Khan.
“I think of this as a jihad. I will stand up against this as long as I am alive,” he said, reiterating that he only cared about the future of the country.
The PTI chairman again stressed his six-day ultimatum to the government for the announcement of early elections. “If they do not clearly announce a date for the elections or for the dissolution of the assemblies, I will take to the streets again. Let me make it clear, this time we will be prepared.”
Khan said he had written to Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Umar Ata Bandial asking whether or not the party had the right to stage a peaceful protest in a democracy.
“This is the fundamental right of a citizen […] I ask our judiciary, do you think we will remain silent [like] sheep and accept all of this? If you think this, it means that we are pushing the country towards treason. If you do not allow people to stage peaceful protests, what other options do they have left?”
He said that he had written a letter to the CJP to make his position “clear”, reiterating that he would take to the streets again after six days. In six days we will find out whether or not the apex court protects our fundamental rights, he said.
The manner in which lawyers and women were forced to disembark from a bus and were “beaten”, had anyone seen something like that before, he asked.
“Which justice system allows this? The entire nation should know who stands for [their] rights and who is carrying out oppression.”