ISLAMABAD: Chairman Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) on Monday asked the Supreme Court of Pakistan to take suo moto notice of the arrests of his party workers and supporters, who according to him, were being abducted ahead of a mass protest in the capital.
Speaking to media, the PTI chairman said that law enforcement agencies had launched a huge crackdown against his party, arresting workers and supporters from their homes.
“Under which law the PTI workers are being arrested,” Khan asked.
He said that the prevailing situation in the country was a trial for the country’s judicial system as it was responsible for protecting the democracy.
“I am ready to go to jail. I will again launch my protest on the streets when released,” Khan added.
Terming Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif a product of Martial Law, the PTI Chairman said he only knows how to plunder the country.
“Whenever he is been asked to present himself for accountability, he whines about a threat to the country, CPEC and the national development,” Khan said.
He alleged that the Sharif brothers were be-fooling the nation for the last 30 years through their corruption.
“They want to destroy the state institutions and protect their corruption. They create theatrics and tell us to wait for general elections in 2018,” Chairman PTI said.
He told his party members to prepare themselves to fight all those opposing the party’s accountability movement.
Crackdown against opposition
Only in Punjab, police have arrested dozens of PTI workers and supporters on Sunday from various areas of the walled city.
According to sources raids were conducted by police in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Multan, Faisalabad and Sargodha including other regions in a bid to stop local party representation and workers to reach Islamabad on the call of Khan ahead of a mass protest in the capital.
Besides PTI activists, members of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-i-Azam (PML-Q) were also arrested for supporting PTI’s November protest.
The new protest plan comes at a sensitive time for Sharif, with the Supreme Court due to start hearing a case about the Panama Papers revelations on Tuesday.
‘Mass protest no danger to democracy’
Imran Khan on Sunday dismissed accusations his planned shutdown of Islamabad could lead to a military coup, saying Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif “can’t hide behind ‘democracy in danger'” to quash protests.
He has vowed to bring a million people into Islamabad on Wednesday to paralyse the government and force Sharif either to resign or allow an inquiry into the “Panama Papers” revelations about his family’s offshore wealth.
He dismissed claims he wants the army to topple Sharif, as it did when he was in power in the 1990s, and said the protests aim to hold the prime minister to account for alleged corruption.
“How can a democrat want the military to come in?,” Khan said. “He has to answer. He can’t hide behind ‘democracy in danger’.”
Sharif messed it up
Khan said it is corruption, not protests, actually, threatens democracy.
“When you have people coming to power and looting the country, they actually weaken the democratic system because people lose faith in democracy, and when the army comes in they welcome them with sweets.”
Khan blamed Sharif for the latest tensions between the government and the military, saying Sharif’s allies allegedly leaked details of the security meeting to the Dawn newspaper.
“They messed it up,” said Khan. “They have humiliated the army, they’ve exposed the army, they’ve ridiculed the army because of the (Dawn leak) – what have we got to do with it?”
Fears of instability
Khan’s latest challenge to Sharif’s government is based on leaked documents from the Panama-based Mossack Fonseca law firm that appear to show the prime minister’s daughter and two sons owned offshore holding companies registered in the British Virgin Islands and used them to buy properties in London.
Sharif’s family denies wrongdoing.
The government said it would take part in a probe, but rejected the opposition’s formula focused on Sharif’s family rather than making it broad based. Sharif’s own name did not appear in the Panama Papers.
In 2014, Imran Khan led a months-long occupation that paralysed Islamabad’s government quarter after rejecting Sharif’s decisive election win a year earlier.
The prospect of similar protests again has hit the local stock market, stoking fears of political instability just as the sputtering economy was starting to rebound.
“When you see a million people in Islamabad, trust me, the city will shut down,” said Khan.