n Defends his public speech, says he didn’t commit any act of terrorism and only called for a legal action against judge n Claims case filed against him on govt pressure 

n Says govt will not be able to bear a fresh call for protests n Repeats demand for free, fair elections.

ISLAMABAD    -    Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan yesterday appeared for questioning before the Islamabad police’s joint investigation team (JIT) constituted on the court orders to probe the terrorism charges against him for hurling threats at a woman judge during a public gathering in the federal capital last month. Accompanied by PTI leaders Fawad Chaudhry and Shibli Faraz, Imran arrived at the SPP office to record his statement to the JIT. 

On the occasion, Imran was given a questionnaire by the JIT.

In response to the JIT’s questions, Imran maintained that he had called for a legal action against the judge who had sent PTI leader Shahbaz Gill back on remand despite claims of custodial torture.

He maintained that he did not commit any act of terrorism in his speech and his speech did not fall under the category of terrorism.

The PTI chief also submitted a written statement to JIT in-charge SP Investigation Rukhsar Mehdi wherein he maintained that the police registered a case of terrorism against him due to the alleged pressure from the incumbent government.

He was asked if he had created an atmosphere of fear and panic by threatening police officers and the judge of the subordinate judiciary in a commanding manner, to which Imran replied that no such thing occurred.

“I think it is vindictive and false,” he said.

Later, talking to media outside the SP office about his case, Imran said that the case has become a joke before the world because the world knows the “definition of terrorism.”

“I appeared before the JIT despite knowing it is a joke,” he said, adding that telling a government official that legal action will be pursued against them over “custodial torture” does not come under the umbrella of terrorism.

He, however, said that they will come out prepared as much as the government troubles them.

He lashed out at the federal government over its alleged failure in controlling the economic crisis and said, “Pakistan is following in the footprints of Sri Lanka.”

He maintained that free and fair elections are the only solution to the economic crisis.

“They are trying to crush my party,” Khan said and warned that the government could not withstand his protest call.

He maintained that they may hold negotiations with the government only on the topic of free and fair elections.

Moving on to the announcement of another series of countrywide protests, the PTI chair said that the government “will not be able to bear” a fresh call for protests.

He said that he had stayed quiet due to the economic situation and then the cataclysmic floods, thinking that his party would record peaceful protests.

“They banned the telethon when [we] started collecting funds for the flood affectees,” Khan said, while referring to the recent telethons his party held during which donors pledged Rs10 billion over five hours.

He said that a “sea of people would be coming out” against the government and the PTI was preparing for it.

“I was silent before because of the economic conditions, the floods came […] so we decided to protest peacefully,” the PTI chief stated, warning that if he gave the call “the government won’t able to bear it”.

“They are trying to close the space for us on media, they banned YouTube […] journalists and anchors they believed supported me are being booked under several charges,” he said

He added that on the one hand, the government was talking about not engaging in politics during floods, but on the other, it was trying its best to crush PTI.