Pakistan is heading towards an “imminent disaster” and it may face disintegration, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has warned as he accused the ruling coalition of hatching a conspiracy to pit the army against his party.
In a video-link address from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore on Wednesday, the 70-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said the only solution to end political instability was to hold elections.
“The PDM leaders and Nawaz Sharif, who is missing in London, are least concerned whether the country’s constitution is desecrated, state institutions are destroyed or even Pakistan Army earns a bad name. They are looking for their vested interests of saving the looted wealth alone,” he said.
“I am seeing a frightening dream that the country is heading towards an imminent disaster. I appeal to the powers that be to let the elections take place and save the country,” Imran Khan said as police surrounded his home.
Speaking about the unrest that followed his arrest from the Islamabad High Court premises on May 9, Imran Khan asserted that it was a “pure conspiracy” hatched and executed allegedly on behalf of the ruling coalition and the Punjab caretaker government.
“This is high time that the powers that be should sensibly rethink otherwise the country will face an East Pakistan-like situation,” he was quoted as saying by Dawn newspaper.
Defending his criticism of the country’s army, Imran Khan said: “When I reprimand the army, it is like I am criticising my kids.”
“I have repeatedly stated that I do not interfere in state institutions’ internal matters. I did not interfere when I had confirmed reports that the former army chief was conspiring against me,” he said, claiming some politicians were telling the current army chief that Imran Khan would de-notify him if voted to power.
Strongly reacting to the Punjab government’s claim that some 40 terrorists are hiding at his Zaman Park residence, Imran Khan said the government must search the house in a lawful manner after obtaining a search warrant because his own life was also in danger in the presence of terrorists.
“But don’t make this an excuse to launch a crackdown on the country’s largest political party PTI,” he said.
Imran Khan said a recent survey revealed that Pakistan’s 70 per cent population was standing with his party – PTI – and the remaining 30 per cent people with all the parties that are part of the ruling coalition.
Following his video-link address, Imran Khan allowed the electronic and digital media representatives access to his residence to see for themselves that there were no terrorists inside Zaman Park.
The media persons, who visited the house, later reported that there were only domestic workers and some policemen inside the house.
Earlier in the day, he tweeted: “Probably my last tweet before my next arrest. Police have surrounded my house”.
He also posted some videos showing police taking positions outside his house.
The arrest of Imran Khan on May 9 by the paramilitary Pakistan Rangers at the IHC premises triggered unrest in Pakistan. For the first time in Pakistan’s history, the protesters stormed the army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and also torched a corps commander’s house in Lahore.
Police put the death count in violent clashes to 10 while Imran Khan’s party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.
On Monday the top military brass vowed to bring the arsonists, who attacked the civil and military installations, to justice through trial under relevant laws of the country, including the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act.
Imran Khan was ousted from power in April last year after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)