Pakistan’s former premier Imran Khan has said that he is determined to head to Rawalpindi on Saturday to address a massive rally planned by his party despite facing threats to his life and called upon the public to reach the garrison city as it is a “decisive time” for the country.
Khan, who is recovering from bullet wounds suffered during an assassination bid on November 3, is set to address his supporters in Rawalpindi. He has said his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party’s protest, demanding fresh general elections, would be “completely peaceful”.
Khan, 70, said on Friday that despite being injured he is determined to head to Rawalpindi for the sake of the nation, the Dawn newspaper reported.
He called upon the public to reach the garrison city for the protest movement.
“Going to Rawalpindi tomorrow as it is a decisive time in the country. We want to become a country that Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal dreamt of,” the Geo news channels quoted Khan as saying.
The cricketer-turned-politician once again demanded fresh elections that he believes will save the country from default and political mayhem. He maintained he would reveal his next strategy during his speech in Rawalpindi.
The former premier said some elements wanted an altercation between him and the Army.
He added he only had issues with some black sheep within the Army and not the entire institution.
On any prospects for a dialogue with the government, he said: “If they are not willing to hold general elections early, what is left to talk about?” In a worst-case scenario, he said the elections would be held next October, claiming the masses would throw the incumbent rulers out with the power of their votes.
“The Haqeeqi Azadi movement will not end today (Nov 26), but continue until justice is dispensed with,” he said.
Khan said the two bullet wounds in his thigh were healing, but he was facing difficulties walking owing to the third bullet that pierced the lower part of his leg.
He also acknowledged that he was still facing threats and would take all precautionary measures.
The PTI Punjab chapter finalised its preparations for the long march and planned that two caravans will separately head towards Rawalpindi. Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Parvez Elahi has assured that foolproof security arrangements would be made for the march.
On a delay in the first information report’s registration after an attack on him, Khan said Chief Minister Elahi and his son Moonis had exerted maximum pressure, but the police did not comply for being ‘controlled’ by the powerful quarters.
Meanwhile, the Islamabad city administration has sealed off the Red Zone in the federal capital ahead of the protest march.
Shipping containers have been placed at Zero Point and the Faizabad Interchange that links Pindi and Islamabad.
Police said Faizabad and Zero Point are being barricaded for entry into Islamabad from Murree Road. Entry into Islamabad has been partially blocked.
Interior minister Rana Sanullah, while addressing a press conference on Friday, warned that there was a threat to the life of Khan and asked him to postpone his planned rally.
“There is no reason for the rally and he should not go for it as there is a threat to his life,” Sanaullah told the media after presiding over a meeting of senior police and other officials where he discussed the issue of security for the rally.
“I reviewed a meeting and all intelligence agencies have alerted me that any terrorist outfit can take advantage of this march. There is a threat to Imran himself,” he said.