A day after the Pakistan Army warned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan against maligning serving officers, the former prime minister referred to the institution and Pakistan as his own clarifying there is no need for him to lie.
“This is my army and my Pakistan. I don’t need to lie,” Khan said in a video statement on Tuesday.
The cricketer-turned-politician’s statement was shared on PTI’s social media channels prior to his departure for the federal capital to attend hearings of his bail applications at the Islamabad High Court for two cases against him.
The PTI chairman’s comments came a day after the army censured him for “irresponsible and baseless allegations” against an incumbent senior military officer of the armed forces.
“[The] chairman PTI has levelled highly irresponsible and baseless allegations against a serving senior military officer without any evidence,” Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry said in a statement, as the politician continued his tirade against the establishment.
The military spokesperson said the politician should refrain from making baseless allegations and warned that if such a trend continues, the army had the right to take legal action.
Following an attempted assassination attack on him in November last year, the former prime minister — who was ousted from office through a no-confidence motion in April 2022 — claimed that a senior military officer, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah were behind the attack, all of whom rejected the allegations. Khan also did not provide any evidence to the authorities so far.
Commenting on the likelihood of going to jail, the PTI chief said: “If someone has a warrant, they should directly bring it to me. Bring the warrant, my lawyer will be there. I’m ready to go to the jail myself.”
The former premier, while demanding that he be approached through a warrant, urged against staging any drama.
“There is no case against me. I’m mentally prepared to be arrested. If I have to go to jail, I’m ready,” Khan said.
He said that the nation knows him for the last 50 years. “I am currently the head of the country’s largest party,” Khan claimed.
Security beefed-up in Islamabad
Khan is scheduled to appear for a hearing on his bail applications at the IHC, which will take place at 2:30pm.
Ahead of Khan’s arrival at the court, Section 144 has been imposed in the federal capital and Islamabad Police have made strict security arrangements, closing the roads around the IHC for general traffic.
Under Section 144’s restrictions, any type of gathering is deemed illegal.
“The G-10 turn and Aun Muhammad Rizvi road will remain closed,” the Islamabad Police said.
The registrar’s office, too, has issued a circular for security arrangements.
According to the registrar’s circular, entry of lawyers and journalists in courtroom number one will be through special passes, while the judicial staff and court’s employees will be exempt from special passes.
Only 15 lawyers will be allowed to go to the courtroom with Khan, as per the circular. Whereas, 10 lawyers will be permitted from the Attorney General for Pakistan and Advocate General for Islamabad’s office.
Meanwhile, 30 members of the Islamabad High Court Journalists Association (IHCJA) will be able to enter the courtroom.
The administration has been asked not to stop those with special passes and department cards from entering the court’s premises. Those possessing the special card will be allowed to enter courtroom number one, the circular read.