RAWALPINDI: Former Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the Punjab government of employing Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to obstruct Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) upcoming demonstration of political strength. Speaking after attending proceedings related to GBP190 million, Toshakhana, and cipher cases, Imran Khan expressed concern over the caretaker government, certain individuals in the establishment, and the Election Commission of Pakistan supposedly working against his party.
Imran Khan’s indictment in the £190 million reference was deferred due to the absence of the defense counsel, while the cross-examination of four prosecution witnesses in the cipher case concluded. Khan claimed a united front against PTI, asserting the party’s substantial support within the armed forces and vowing not to be deterred by coercive measures.
Alleging unprecedented pre-poll rigging, Imran Khan warned of public outrage on the election day. Responding to questions about potential deals with stakeholders, Khan stated his sole interest was in free and transparent elections, criticizing the prevailing mindset in power corridors.
Imposing Section 144, Khan speculated that the government aimed to curtail PTI’s public meetings, accusing PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif of orchestrating the move. He outlined a contingency plan, intending to replace any arrested or barred PTI candidate.
In a related development, the Islamabad High Court reserved its decision on Imran Khan’s petitions against trial at Adiala Jail in Toshakhana and the £190 million corruption cases. Additionally, the Election Commission of Pakistan postponed contempt proceedings against Imran Khan and Fawad Chaudhry until after the February 8 general elections. The commission agreed not to proceed with contempt charges, citing the upcoming polls.