Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said the ‘Jail Bharo Movement’ or court arrest movement against the government’s “political victimisation" of PTI party leaders and allies will kickstart on February 22.
“We will fill jails, they [authorities] will have no space left then," the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chief said while addressing the nation via video link from Lahore, where he’s residing since being shot in the legs on November 3 last year.
Khan’s announcement came after PTI leaders, including Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati, Shahbaz Gill, and Awami Muslim League chief Sheikh Rashid, were recently arrested and released on bail in sedition cases. The party has alleged the senior leaders were tortured in custody, a claim that authorities have denied.
Tensions between the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government and the PTI have heightened, with no sign of respite as the elections in two provinces — Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa — near, following the party’s decision to dissolve the assemblies.
Khan is currently embroiled in cases linked to protests outside the election commission, alleged illegal funding and corruption. The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician has suffered massive blows to his career with the Lahore High Court on Thursday rejected his bail plea in the election commission protest case. The former prime minister has also been disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) over “false statements and incorrect declaration” for buying gifts, including an expensive Graff wristwatch he had received as prime minister at a discounted price from the state depository called Toshakhana and selling them for profit.
Khan was ousted as Pakistan’s prime minister in April last year after the National Assembly passed a no-confidence motion against him.
Initially, he blamed a US conspiracy to dislodge him. However, he later accused Army chief Gen (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for orchestrating his ouster last April. Khan has approached President Arif Alvi and demanded an inquiry against Bajwa for repeatedly violating terms of his oath, including secretly taping conversations with him during his prime ministership.
Meanwhile, Pakistan is suffering from its worst economic crisis with rising cost-of-living expenses amid fears of currency devaluation and economic collapse. Prices of essentials, including milk, and natural gas, have increased exponentally after Finance minister Ishaq Dar on Tuesday hiked gas prices to secure an early release of International Monetary Fund’s (IMF) $1.2 billion tranche, by raising an additional PKR310 billion from the majority of domestic and all other categories of consumers.
Read all the Latest News here