Govt determined to drive me out of politics: Imran Khan

In reference to the cases registered against him across the country, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said Thursday that fervent “efforts are being made to disqualify me from politics”.

During an interview with the BBC, the former prime minister noted that “they are trying their best” to disqualify him ahead of the general elections in the country. Khan added that “new cases are being registered” against him on every other day.

In response to a question, the former premier — whose government was brought down through a vote of no-confidence in April last year — said: “There is absolutely no case that can disqualify me.”

It is pertinent to mention here that Khan had been disqualified by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) in Toshakhana reference on October 21, 2022. In August 2022, National Assembly Speaker Raja Pervaiz Ashraf sent a reference to the ECP under Articles 62A, 63A, and 223, seeking the PTI chief’s disqualification in light of the Toshakhana scam.

The 28-page reference identified 52 gift items of Toshakhana received by Khan, violating the law and rules, taken away at nominal prices and most of the gifts were sold in the market, including some precious watches.

The assessed value of the gifts has been put at more than Rs140 million. The gifts were received between August 2018 and December 2021. On the next day, Khan challenged the verdict in the IHC.

‘Prohibited funding case’

On October 11, the FIA booked the PTI chairman in the prohibited funding case as the agency ramps up the investigation into the matter.

In the FIR, the federal agency alleged that the Abraaj Group transferred $2.1 million to the PTI account in the branch of a bank situated at Jinnah Avenue in Islamabad.

On August 22, 2022, the ECP, in a unanimous verdict, announced that the PTI received prohibited funding. The case was earlier referred to as the “foreign funding” case, but later the election commission accepted the PTI’s plea to refer to it as the “prohibited funding” case.

The commission found that donations were taken from America, Australia, Canada and the UAE.

The PTI received funds from 34 individuals and 351 businesses including companies, the ECP verdict stated.

In addition to this, the federal government had moved the Supreme Court (SC) seeking to initiate contempt proceedings against Imran Khan for violating its May 25 orders.

The ECP was also carrying out contempt proceedings against Khan and other PTI leaders. The electoral watchdog issued arrest warrants for Khan, Asad Umar, Fawad Chaudhry and others for failing to appear before the commission on January 10.

The LHC, however, suspended the arrest warrants issued by the ECP on January 16.

‘Damage has been done’

Talking about the deepening crisis, Imran Khan said that the only way Pakistan could get economic stability is through free and fair elections.

“The damage has been done. It is only going to get worse — the longer this government stays,” he added.

The PTI leader feared that Pakistan could have a Sri Lanka-like situation.

He was of the view that a government backed by popular mandate can steer the country out of the economic crisis.

‘Will use bulletproof screen in rallies’

Khan said that he “does not feel safe”, adding that he would use bulletproof screens in the rallies to avoid any further attack.

“There is no question of hiding,” he said and vowed to go out for electioneering for the upcoming general election.

In November last year, Khan was injured after a man opened fire at him in Wazirabad near the party’s reception camp, sending the nearby participants of the long march into a panic on November 3.

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