Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairperson Imran Khan has denied reports that his party’s long march was called off because of a bargain with the establishment, claiming that he decided to end the march to avoid ‘bloodshed’.
Addressing a press conference in Peshawar, he reiterated his claims that he would take to the streets again if his demands for early elections and the dissolution of assemblies were not conceded to.
He said he regretted how the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) led government had ‘hand-picked’ police officers who then targeted PTI protestors.
Claiming that he was not afraid of a sit in, as he was someone who had once conducted a sit-in for 126 days, he said that he became ‘aware of the situation’ upon reaching Islamabad, and knew that there would be bloodshed.
He said the people had witnessed the ‘terrorism’ of the police, and the way the government had disrupted a ‘peaceful protest’.
“I knew that there was so much anger there, that if I had gone ahead with the sit-in that day, I can guarantee there would have been bloodshed,” he said, adding that there was a prevailing sense of hatred for the police that day.
Khan then said that the fault did not lie with the police, as the police was also theirs, but that the incumbent government was actually to blame for issuing harmful directives.
“Do not think it was our weakness and don’t think that a deal was made. I am hearing strange things that a deal was made with the establishment. I did not make a deal with anyone,” he said, adding that the only motive behind his actions was a wish to prevent chaos and violence.
He said PTI would not make any deals with the ‘imported government’, however he claimed that the door to negotiate was also open. “We are not here to fight. Our only objective is elections in June and dissolution of assemblies.”
Khan again claimed that if the government does not announce early elections or the dissolution of assemblies, then he will reach Islamabad again, and this time, the PTI will ‘be prepared’.