Pakistan’s military plans to keep me in jail for 10 years under sedition charges: Imran Khan

The Islamabad High Court had granted former Pakistan PM Imran Khan bail, barring the authorities from arresting him in all the cases registered beyond May 9

May 15, 2023 12:08 pm | Updated 12:55 pm IST - Lahore

Pakistan’s Imran Khan. File

Pakistan’s Imran Khan. File | Photo Credit: Reuters

Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan claimed on May 15 that the country's powerful military establishment has planned to keep him in jail for the next 10 years under sedition charges and vowed to fight against the "assortments of crooks" till the last drop of his blood.

Mr. Khan is likely to appear before the Lahore High Court in connection with the cases registered against him for torching the house of the Corps Commander in Lahore and other incidents of violence that erupted after his arrest in a corruption case last week.

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The Islamabad High Court (IHC) had granted 70-year-old Mr. Khan bail, barring the authorities from arresting him in all the cases registered beyond May 9 and asked him to approach the Lahore High Court for further relief on May 15.

In a series of tweets in the early hours of Monday, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief said: "So now the complete London plan is out. Using the pretext of violence while I was inside the jail, they assumed the role of judge, jury and executioner. The plan now is to humiliate me by putting Bushra begum [Mr. Khan's wife] in jail, and using some sedition law to keep me inside for the next ten years."

The tweets came after Mr. Khan held a meeting of PTI leaders at his Lahore residence.

Mr. Khan, who has been on bail in more than 100 cases, further said: "To ensure that there is no public reaction, they have done two things — first deliberate terror is unleashed not just on PTI workers but on common citizens as well. Second, the media is totally controlled and muzzled."

The Army remains Pakistan’s most powerful institution, having ruled it directly for close to half its 75-year history through three coups.

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"This is a deliberate attempt to instil so much fear in people that when they come to arrest me tomorrow, people won't come out. And tomorrow they will again suspend internet services and ban social media [which is only partially open]. Meanwhile, as we speak, houses are being broken in and shamelessly police are manhandling the women of the houses," he said.

He said never has the sanctity of chadar (veil) and chaar dewaari (four walls) been violated the way it is being done by these "criminals".

Giving his message to the people of Pakistan, Mr. Khan said: "My message to the people of Pakistan; I will fight for Haqeeqi Azaadi [real freedom] till the last drop of my blood because for me death is preferable than to be enslaved by these assortments of crooks.

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"I urge all my people to remember that we have pledged LA Illah ha illalah, that we bow to no one except the One [Allah]. If we bow to the idol of fear there will only be humiliation and dismemberment for our future generations. Countries where there is injustice and the law of the jungle prevails, don't survive for long."

Mr. Khan returned to his Lahore home on Saturday after having locked himself in the Islamabad High Court (IHC) premises for hours due to the fear of re-arrest despite being granted bail on Friday.

Mr. Khan further said the JUI-F "drama" that is being done outside the Supreme Court is only for one purpose — to overawe the Chief Justice of Pakistan so that he does not give a verdict according to the Constitution.

"Pakistan has already seen such a brazen attack on the Supreme Court when in 1997 PMLN goons physically attacked it and had one of the most respected Chief Justices Sajjad Ali Shah removed," he said.

Mr. Khan's arrest by the Pakistan Rangers at the IHC premises last Tuesday triggered unrest in Pakistan that continued till Friday and led to several deaths and dozens of military and state installations being destroyed by the protesters.

For the first time in the country's history, the protesters stormed the army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi and also torched the historic Corps Commander's House in Lahore.

Police put the death toll in violent clashes to 10 while Mr. Khan's party claims 40 of its workers lost their lives in the firing by security personnel.

Punjab Inspector General Police Dr. Usman Anwar told a press conference on Sunday that over 3,500 people have been arrested in Punjab province for their involvement in the violence that erupted after Mr. Khan's arrest. He said most of them will be tried in anti-terrorism courts.

Mr. 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 U.S.-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China and Afghanistan.

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