Former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday criticized the incumbent government for trying to stop the party’s long march and urged the ‘neutrals’ to “do the right thing”.
The ousted premier also requested the officials to defy the orders of the “imported and corrupt” government, stating it was their legal right to defy unlawful orders.
Speaking at a press conference in Peshawar, the former premier asked the bureaucracy and the civil service to “not listen to Hamza Shehbaz – he doesn’t have a cabinet and he is a criminal facing trial. Defy orders that are unlawful – we will remember your names if you don’t”.
The PTI chairman defended his party’s democratic right to protest and said “the future is in the hands of the people, this is not just my battle but all of ours.”
In a passionate appeal to state institutions, Khan warned that the “nation will judge you and hold you accountable, Allah has not ordained you to stay neutral”.
‘Do not remain neutral,’ Khan tells courts
Khan also lambasted the government’s attempts to block the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf’s (PTI) protest scheduled for Wednesday (today) and requested the judiciary to “not remain neutral.”
The former PM addressed the country’s courts stating, “my message to the courts is, this is your trial – the country will look towards you to carry out justice”.
The ousted PM also questioned the court’s ‘neutral’ stance: “I ask the courts; the raids, the harassment, the roadblocks – will you allow this? Unfortunately, if you allow this you will lose all credibility”.
The PTI chairman further stated that moral neutrality did not exist, “to be neutral is to choose the side of the oppressor,” adding that the judiciary’s oath underscores their duty to “protect the dignity of the country”.
Referring to the raids carried out by police officials late Monday night, Khan accused the incumbent government of using tactics analogous to the actions of military dictators.
“These political families are fascists, there is no difference between them and military dictators,” he said.
The PTI leader asked: “They went into people’s homes with no care for the women and children. A retired major’s home was raided. What kind of a country does this happen in?”
In defence of his government, the former prime minister stated that his party members had “never broken the law”, adding that the PTI protests were always lawful.
“Do we want this country’s leader to be a constitutionalist like Quaid-e-Azam? Or let thieves run it?” Khan asked while stating that Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and Chief Minister of Punjab Hamza Shehbaz had pending corruption cases worth Rs24 billion.
The former premier upheld that the PTI government never placed any restrictions on the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s (PDM) right to protest when they held a long march to Islamabad. In fact, Khan claimed that the government “helped” the former opposition parties.
In his closing remarks, the ousted premier claimed that the police and paramilitary troops would be unable to arrest a nation of 220 million people. “We cannot be stopped, we will make history tomorrow, there are not enough policemen or Rangers to stop us.”
He advised his supporters to come out in large numbers, “leave your fear behind, don’t be afraid of their tactics. I request the youth to take their futures into their hands. This is their war,” the PTI leader claimed.
The leader also claimed that the situation was no longer about politics but rather a “jihad”.