PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said that there still remained a threat to his life even after the Wazirabad assassination attempt.
The PTI chief was injured during a gun attack while leading the party’s long march in Punjab’s Wazirabad on November 3. A PTI supporter, Moazzam Nawaz, was killed in the incident while 14 others, including the former premier, were wounded. The suspect was soon after arrested by the police.
Questioned about any lingering threat in an interview with France 24 today, Imran said: “Well, unfortunately, I do think they could try again. The threat [to my life] remains. Those people who wanted me to be eliminated […] the reason they want me to be eliminated is that my party is by far the most popular party in Pakistan.”
Imran said the PTI had won 75 per cent of the recent by-elections held in the country despite “all the other parties put together backed by the establishment”. “We have swept the by-elections because people don’t want these criminals who are ruling Pakistan right now,” he said.
The PTI chief claimed he enjoyed “massive public support” and the only way “to get me out of the way is to eliminate me so I think there is still a threat”.
He added that even though he would take more precautions now upon joining the party’s long march to Islamabad, the fear of death would not stop him from “pursuing what I believe is a mission to fight for the rule of law in this country.”
Imran said there were “political mafias and institutions” which were above the law, adding that it was the reason for the country’s lack of progress.
“The threat of being killed is not going to stop me from resuming this mission.”
In response to a question about the press conference of the Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) chief last month, Imran said it was an “unadvisable” press conference, explaining that no ISI head should do a press talk.
“If I reply to it point by point then the institution of the army will be damaged and that’s not what I would like to do because we do need a strong defence force here.
“I think the press conference was also in response to our best investigative journalist who was portraying my point of view. He had been threatened with death after which left the country and was later assassinated in Kenya,” Imran said, referring to the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif.
Imran said there was a “big public backlash” in the killing’s wake and “people pointed fingers at the establishment”. “I felt that the press conference was more to placate the public opinion,” he added.
Talking about his recent change of position regarding the United States where Imran said he no longer “blamed” the US administration for his removal from power, the PTI chief reiterated his claim about the Cablegate cypher and its alleged role in his government’s ouster.
“What I said was that [the conspiracy] is behind me. I should not […] just because my government was toppled by the US […] I should not let this get in way of what is in the interest of the people of Pakistan which is to have good relations with all countries but especially the US which is a superpower.
“That’s exactly what I said. I never backtracked on this because the cypher exists. It was put in the cabinet, NSC (National Security Committee) and now it is with the chief justice … so there was no question of backtracking but it was a question of moving on,” the PTI chairman said.