"Descent into fascism...": Imran Khan recalls government's crackdown on PTI

World Friday 26/May/2023 08:50 AM
"Descent into fascism...": Imran Khan recalls government's crackdown on PTI
Imran Khan (file photo)

Islamabad: Recalling the day when the government began a clampdown on the political outfit Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), former prime minister Imran Khan has said Pakistan's "descent into fascism" began last year on May 25.

Last year's May 25 marked the arrest of nearly 1,000 PTI workers, who were jailed ahead of a scheduled rally of the ousted prime minister. Revisiting the same, Khan said that some PTI workers thought, the crackdown was just the beginning.

Khan tweeted, "Last year on the 25th of May commenced our descent into fascism."

"While three long marches by PDM during the 3.5 years of PTI govt were allowed without any hindrance, we faced the full force of state terror. Houses broken in the middle of the night and PTI office bearers and workers kidnapped," the tweet added.

He recalled how, PTI workers who went to Islamabad "faced tear gas, rubber bullets and police brutality. Some of us thought it was one off but that was just the beginning. Today the largest and the only Federal party is facing the full fury of state power without any accountability."

"Those in PDM and the journalist community who are cheerleaders for this yazeediyat should know that this is not dismantling PTI but our democracy i.e. our freedom. However this attempt to enslave us will fail as we have a politically aware young population who despite media being muzzled gets its information from Social Media," Khan's tweet concluded.

It is important to mention that on the direction of the Shehbaz Sharif government police arrested key PTI members and cut off the capital Islamabad on May 25, 2022.

The arrests were made ahead of former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan's Azadi March.

The Pakistan Police raided the houses of the PTI leaders and workers. PTI leader, Mian Mehmood-ur- Rasheed was arrested after the police made a late-night raid under section 16 of the Maintenance of the Public Order (MPO), reported Geo News.

The government rounded up over 1,000 PTI leaders and workers in a crackdown designed to derail the party's plans for a massive power show in Islamabad.

Section-144 was imposed in Lahore, the twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad and Karachi, as well as other major cities in the country, while the Punjab government sought the deployment of Rangers to control the law and order situation.

The federal capital was sealed from the rest of the country as all entry and exit points leading towards Islamabad were closed down with the heavy deployment of police and containers. Officers in the capital stated that the government agreed on two plans, either allowing the PTI marchers to enter Islamabad or intercepting them at entry points, reported Dawn newspaper.

The Pakistan officers had planned to take the ousted Pakistan Prime Minister into custody. A well-equipped contingent of the capital police also reached Banigala to make his arrest. However, Imran Khan was in Multan in lieu of the public rally, which rendered the mission unsuccessful.

Meanwhile, 500 containers were given to the Pakistan police and 300 were deployed to seal the Red Zone. Further, the government also decided to cancel leaves for the Capital police, except for emergencies, reported Dawn newspaper as cited by the officers.

Demanding the dissolution of the National Assembly and a date for the next general election and invited people to join in large numbers, Khan had announced that his party's long protest march to Islamabad would begin on May 25, 2022.

"The foreign conspiracy against Pakistan was hatched eight months ago and I was alerted about it in June, and after August, I fully understood what was happening. We did our best that somehow this conspiracy could be voided but unfortunately we couldn't stop it," Khan said.

The PTI chairman explained in detail his allegations of conspiracy and the purpose of his march before announcing the date.

Khan emphasised that the party had always remained peaceful in its protests, and the same will be valid for the upcoming march and warned that the party would take legal action against any wrong action taken against the peaceful protest march.