Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has announced the start of his party's ‘real freedom movement’ against the coalition government from Saturday.
"You have to stand up for law and governance in this country. I need the lawyers community for my country," said Imran while addressing a lawyers convention in Lahore on Wednesday.
"Whoever threatens you, you counter it by threatening them back and tell them that the Constitution has given me the right to freedom of expression."
Imran said that he will soon give a call for long march to Islamabad, urging the nation and lawyers to support him. "Together we will establish the rule of law in this country and bring real freedom to Pakistan," he added.
Read more: Combat threats with counter-threats: Imran
The former premier said that a society which does not have rule of law gets destroyed. "Ever since they (the government) came into power after a ‘foreign conspiracy’, the country has been dismantled. What message are we giving to the youth by bringing such people to the power that only small-time thieves get caught here," he said.
The PTI chief said that the current rulers have gotten rid of their corruption cases through NAB law tweaks. "The agencies whose job is to enforce the rule of law are breaking the law. The powerful can do anything in this country," he added.
He said that in a country where there is no rule of law, the money flows from abroad and hence it does not have an ideology.
Imran said that the current government was taking Pakistan to a situation similar to that of Sri Lanka, adding that the country was moving towards big social unrest which had not been seen in the past 50 years.
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"If we want to get Pakistan out of this quicksand, then we must establish rule of law in the country. Until that happens, our economy will continue to suffer," he added.
Imran said that the difference between rich and poor countries was rule of law.
"In poor countries, there is law but not justice, while in rich countries rule of law exists. The society in which there is no rule of law gets destroyed," he further said.
The announcement comes two days after Imran Khan encouraged his party leaders and supporters at a public rally to threaten back those threatening them from unknown numbers. Invoking the mysterious figures of 'Mr X' and 'Mr Y', Imran urged the party activists to smash "the idol of fear" and combat their threats with similar threats.
He said those trying to intimidate party cadres through calls from secret numbers will now be dealt with similar tactics.
"Break the idol of fear, this call that comes from an anonymous number to threaten. Give it back to them. They give threats, return those threats," the PTI chief roared while addressing a massive crowd in Chakwal.
The PTI chief said that he wanted army chief’s appointment on merit, saying he had said that ex-premier Nawaz Sharif and ex-president Asif Ali Zardari could never do selection on merit as they were not even familiar with the concept of merit and can’t see beyond their families.
The ISPR had taken a strong exception to the PTI chairman’s remarks regarding the appointment of the new army chief, saying it was “aghast at the defamatory and uncalled for” statement about the institution’s senior leadership.
“Regrettably, an attempt has been made to discredit and undermine [the] senior leadership of [the] Pakistan Army at a time when the institution is laying lives for the security and safety of the people of Pakistan every day,” the official statement had read. The ISPR said that the senior politicians trying to stir controversies on COAS’ appointment, the procedure for which is well defined in the constitution, was most unfortunate and disappointing.