Imran Khan slams Army, calls for 'freedom' protests in first address after arrest

Controversial Pakistani politician Imran Khan called for nationwide “freedom” protests after his brief arrest and detention last week led to a spate of violence and widespread protests.

For months the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader has waged a campaign of defiance against the military.
For months the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader has waged a campaign of defiance against the military. Photo courtesy: YouTube/PTI Official

The former Pakistan prime minister, who is facing dozens of legal cases since being ousted from power in April 2022, was freed on bail on Friday after his detention was declared unlawful by the supreme court.

Following Khan’s arrest, his supporters set fire to government buildings, blocked roads and damaged property belonging to the military, which they blame for Khan’s downfall.

Also read: Pakistan diaspora protests worldwide against Imran Khan's arrest

“Freedom does not come easily. You have to snatch it. You have to sacrifice for it,” he said on YouTube yesterday night.

He called for his supporters to hold protests “at the end of your streets and villages” across the country, and announced a return to campaigning on Wednesday for immediate elections.

“Today, our democracy is hanging by a thread,” said Khan in his first public address since his release, describing those who had gone after him as a “mafia”. His speech was not aired on television.

For months the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader has waged a campaign of defiance against the military. His arrest on Tuesday came just hours after he was rebuked for claiming senior officials were involved in an assassination attempt against him in 2022.

Pakistan’s powerful military has directly ruled the country off and on for nearly half of its 75-year history, and continues to wield power over the political system.

During his address, Khan advised the military to form its own political party for jumping into politics and 'think big' for saving the country from descending into a complete chaos.

Following Khan’s arrest, his supporters set fire to government buildings, blocked roads and damaged property belonging to the military, which they blame for Khan’s downfall.
Following Khan’s arrest, his supporters set fire to government buildings, blocked roads and damaged property belonging to the military, which they blame for Khan’s downfall. Photo courtesy: Twitter/@ShakirAbbasi22

"You have jumped into politics. Why don't you form your own party. Who has given you the right to make such frivolous allegations. Have some shame for saying that no one else harmed the army to the extent that I did, and that you will crush us," Khan said.

At least nine people died in the unrest last week with hundreds of police officers injured and more than 4,000 people detained, according to authorities.

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CtoI News Desk
CtoI News Desk – CtoI

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