PTI Chairman Imran Khan berated the government for attempting to stop the party’s long march to Islamabad, calling on the judiciary and the ‘neutrals’ of the country to “do the right thing”.
He expressed these views at a press conference in Peshawar on Tuesday, where he shelled the government and described its recent actions as “similar to what dictators do”.
His speech came one day following a police crackdown on his party’s workers, in which a number of workers were reportedly arrested. A police constable was also martyred that same night during an operation in Lahore. The government and the PTI both accuse each other of the killing.
At the beginning of his press conference, Imran said that it was a “decisive moment for the country” that would determine its fate. He claimed that there was no difference between the “fascist government” and the military dictators of the past, saying that both used the same tactic.
He claimed that during the PTI government’s tenure, the opposition at the time was allowed to organize demonstrations and long marches on several occasions. “They marched repeatedly to oust the government, but did we use these methods?”
Imran took it out on the government for running late-night raids in Lahore. He wondered why the government suddenly resorted to these tactics, urging them to bring to light any cases in which it had already broken the law.
The chairman of the PTI said that the country was looking to the judiciary, telling them that it was their “trial”. “The country will look at your decisions,” he said, stating that the long march was a peaceful demonstration and the party’s democratic right.
He claimed that “remaining neutral” was not an option anymore. “You have to make your choice. God has not permitted us to walk between the two, which means you are helping criminals.”
Speaking to “those who claim to be neutral,” he said they had sworn an oath to protect the country’s independence and sovereignty. “You need to understand that the public is looking at you, and you will also be judged. You will be just as liable if the country moves towards destruction.”
He said the only way forward was to hold an early election. “There is no alternative,’ he said, expressing concern that the country is going down the path of Sri Lanka, which is currently experiencing an economic downturn.
The government was not interested in serving the country and simply wanted to shut down its corruption cases “Therefore, I want to convey a message to everyone: Neutrals and lawyers, this is a decisive moment.”