Following the raids conducted by the Punjab on the houses of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leaders late night on Monday, party Chairperson Imran Khan has asked the judiciary and ‘neutrals’ to ‘do the right thing’ and take note of the government’s attempts to stop their long march.
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, he condemned the raids that had been conducted the night before and likened the behavior of the current government to that of ‘military dictators’.
Khan’s remarks came less than a day after the Punjab police cracked down on PTI leaders and rounded up 73 workers. The police raids also led to the death of a police constable, who was shot to death during a raid. The PTI and the federal government have been exchanging blame for the incident.
During the press conference, Khan said that his government had always allowed the opposition parties to exercise their rights to peacefully protest. “They marched several times with the purpose of ousting the government but did we resort to these methods?”
“The country is going to look at your decisions,” he said to the judiciary, claiming that this was going to be their ‘trial’. Khan stressed that peaceful protest was his party’s democratic right.
“Did we protest when Bilawal staged a long march? Did we arrest him? Fazlur Rehman also staged a march, we said we would help them,” he said.
Addressing the judiciary, he asked why they had not spoken up against the raids and the police harassment yet. “If you allow this, then the credibility of the judiciary will cease to exist. It would mean that there is no democracy in Pakistan.”
He reiterated that ‘staying neutral was no longer an option’, adding that those who claimed neutrality had a responsibility to uphold the country’s independence and sovereignty. God has not given us the option to be neutral, he said, claiming that choosing neutrality meant siding with criminals.
“You need to understand that the public is looking at you, and you will also be judged. You will be equally responsible if the country goes towards destruction.”
Imran said that even though the government had closed down Islamabad and Rawalpindi, his supporters should still leave their homes for the long march. “They don’t have that many police officials to carry out arrests.”