‘You are our last hope’: Imran Khan urges Supreme Court judges to save democracy in Pakistan

‘You are our last hope’: Imran Khan urges Supreme Court judges to save democracy in Pakistan
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Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan
Image source: AP Former Prime Minister of Pakistan Imran Khan

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan has appealed to Supreme Court judges to take a stand amid the current crisis in the country and save democracy saying they are the last hope, according to reports.

In an address to the nation via social media, the 70-year-old Khan also said a massive crackdown is underway against his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party and that the regime has “imprisoned the entire leadership and even to those who are not even part of the party”.

“You are our last hope,” Khan said, referring to the higher judiciary.

“Supreme Court Justices, the nation is watching you and your unity is very important to the public. It is now up to you to save this country and defend it because Pakistan is turning into a banana republic,” Khan urged, amid reports that the internet connection at his residence in Zaman Park has been shut down.

Khan, who is facing heat following widespread violence by his supporters earlier this month, has also offered to hold a dialogue, saying he is ready to set up a committee for talks with “whoever is in power today.” “.

“I make this committee and I say two things: if they tell the committee that they have a solution and the country can function better without me. Or if they tell the committee what benefit Pakistan will get from holding elections in October. Convince us of these two things,” he said, adding that he will announce the committee tomorrow.

Violent protests broke out on 9 May following Khan’s arrest by Rangers paramilitaries. His party workers vandalized a dozen military installations, including the house of the Lahore Corps Commander, the Mianwali airbase and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters in Rawalpindi was also attacked by the mafia for the first time. Police raise the death toll in violent clashes to 10.

“They profited from the arson attack at the Lahore Corps Commander’s house and used it to crack down on the PTI… a crackdown that has never been seen in the country’s history,” Khan said.

He claimed that the authorities have imprisoned the entire leadership of his party and even those who are not even part of the party.

“There is only one way out, that they pronounce the magic words of ‘I’m leaving the PTI’… is this a joke?” Khan asked.

Feeling the heat of legal processes, several PTI leaders have resigned from the party, including liberal-minded former human rights minister Shireen Mazari and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry.

Khan said Mazari’s departure from politics was not just a loss for his party but for the entire country and its democracy.

“Currently, more than 10,000 of our workers are in jail,” Khan said, adding that they are being treated as foreign enemies of the country, but even so, prisoners of war have rights.

Khan said his supporters are now afraid to appear in the media, for fear of being caught and jailed.

“I have told my people to hide. I tell my workers and officials there is no need for them to come out. Don’t stay at home, hide,” Khan said.

Khan said that this oppression will not eliminate his party but will actually increase its popularity.

“How they are grabbing them by the neck and forcing them to leave the PTI. You were not born for this… when the nation bows its head in fear, those nations die,” he said.

“I’m sitting ready for them, every time they come for me. I’m ready every day,” he added.

His comments came hours after Defense Minister Khawaja Asif said the government is considering a possible ban on Khan’s party following attacks by his supporters on military installations.

“No decision has been made yet (to ban PTI), but surely a review is underway,” Asif told reporters.

However, he said the matter will be referred to Parliament for approval if the government finally decides to ban the former ruling party. He also criticized Khan for not condemning the attacks on military installations.

“So far, he (Imran) has not condemned [the violence] in clear words. She says that he didn’t know, that he was [in custody]. he had his phone […] he repeated that this reaction was expected and it will happen again if he is arrested,” Asif said.

Asif claimed that the vandalism of military installations across the country on May 9 were “coordinated attacks” planned by Khan.

“There is a lot of evidence and your people tell themselves that they were informed about this beforehand,” he said.

“I feel like their year-long fight…all their plans failed and this was their last move against the armed forces.”

However, PTI leader Barrister Ali Zafar said the party would challenge the ban in court, as a political party cannot be banned.

He told the media that when a ban was placed on Jamaat-i-Islami in the 1960s, then-chief justice Alvin Robert Cornelius overturned it.

“Efforts to ban Jamaat-i-Islami were made a long time ago. The SC had said that a political party cannot be banned and that everyone has the right to form a political party,” Zafar said.

Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a vote of no confidence in his leadership, which he claimed was part of a US-led conspiracy that targeted him over his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

READ ALSO | Imran Khan aide Fawad Chaudhry resigns from Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf

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