If they do not hold free and fair elections, (then) we will hold elections by force: Imran

GUJRANWALA/LAHORE   -   Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan said Saturday that he would accept Islamabad High Court’s (IHC) verdict in the contempt of court case registered against him for threatening additional sessions judge Zeba Chaudhry.

The high court on Thursday decided to indict the former prime minister on September 22 after he did not submit an unconditional apology. 

“I will accept any verdict given by the chief justice of Islamabad High Court,” the former premier said while addressing a public gathering in Gujranwala. During the jalsa, he resorted to criticising the establishment as well. “Even if you call yourself neutral, the nation will hold you responsible if the country continues to get destroyed by the incumbent government,” he said. 

He went on to say, “I am addressing the people who have the power,” he said at the Jinnah Stadium. “I want to ask the establishment … the way this government is taking this country and economy down … I know that you call yourself neutral but this nation will hold you responsible for the way the country is going down. They will hold you responsible because you could have prevented the country getting mired in this swamp but you did not do anything. “If the economy goes down, the national security will be effected because then we will be more helpless in front of foreign powers. There is still time. Save this country from plummeting anymore.”

The former premier, while urging the establishment to save the country, said if the economic situation gets worse, it will directly affect national security. “As the economy deteriorates, Pakistan will have to bow down in front of other countries,” he added. The PTI chairman said that he would call upon the nation anytime, asking them to keep themselves ready. 

“I will call the entire Pakistan, so be ready,” he said. Talking about the elections, Khan said that the party wants early elections while the coalition government was running away from general polls, adding that the public will take to the streets if they don’t hold free and fair elections. Imran reiterated his demand for free and fair elections, warning that failure to do so would see his supporters hold peaceful streets on his call and have their demands accepted “by force”.

“If they do not hold free and fair elections, then the people are ready to take to the streets of Pakistan to hold peaceful protests … or … we will hold elections by force,” he said. “We can see they are running away from the elections because they know they will lose even badly than before.”

Towards the start of the speech, he addressed his party’s Insaf Student Federation (ISF) and the youth in general, and said he would need them both in the light of “things I am going to say ahead”.

Meanwhile, Imran thanked his supporters for attending the rally. “I want to thank people across Pakistan for coming out in such large numbers tonight to show solidarity with me & support for our struggle. Our Movement for Haqiqi Azadi is gaining an unstoppable momentum & InshaAllah we will succeed as long as we stay resolute & fearless,” he said in a tweet late Saturday.