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Imran Khan Predicts His Arrest as Over 10,000 PTI Members Already in Jail

© Twitter/@ImranKhanPTI/video screenshot Imran Khan, during a video address on Wednesday, suggested the reason for his arrest was his and his party's popularity in Pakistan
Imran Khan, during a video address on Wednesday, suggested the reason for his arrest was his and his party's popularity in Pakistan - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.05.2023
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has said that there is a high likelihood of his arrest in Islamabad on Tuesday, where he is to appear at the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in Al-Qadir Trust case.
In an interview with CNN Imran Khan said that it is 80% likely that he will be arrested tomorrow when he appears at the NAB office. According to the PTI chair his house at Zaman Park in Lahore and the streets surrounding his house are heavily barricaded and there is a constant presence of the police rangers. He added that anyone who wants to visit his house has to first get a clearance from the police.
According to a report there are over 200 police rangers dispatched at Zaman Park at present.
Khan said that over 10,000 PTI workers have been arrested over the past few days and the entire senior leadership of PTI is currently in jail.
"Everything is being done just to dismantle our democracy, so right now, as we speak, over 10,000 workers have been arrested. My entire senior leadership is in jail," Khan said during the interview.
According to him this is being done because of the government's desire to eliminate him from the political landscape, and to crush PTI because the government fears losing the upcoming general elections.
Even before May 9 events, PTI members were jailed and arrested almost every month. In February more than 100 PTI leaders were arrested in response to Imran Khan’s call for ‘Jail Bharo’ movement.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party activists and supporters of former Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran clash with police amid teargas during a protest against the arrest of their leader, in Peshawar on May 9, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 09.05.2023
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Imran had announced plans for his 'Jail Bharo Tehreek' in protest against the government’s policies and to put pressure on the ruling coalition to announce elections. At that time Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah had said that the members were detained for 30 days.

Dismantling of the PTI?

Khan's PTI party is the most popular in the two provinces - Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). These two provinces form around 70% of the general voting mass, and numerous polls have repeatedly shown Khan leading in them.
During this week's interview Khan expressed a concern for his life. When asked if he felt safe the PTI chief said that last November there was an assassination attempt which he had predicted. He had been saying that a so-called religious fanatic would be used to kill him, just like what happened to the governor Salman Taseer. The Punjab's governor was killed by a fanatic, his own bodyguard a decade ago.
Imran Khan said, "they were going to use that to bump me off, and the reason [for the assassination attempt] was that they had lost all the by-elections and the party was getting more and more popular. So I knew that my life was in danger and I sort of had to speak publicly about it."
On November 3 a shooter opened fire using an automatic weapon during a PTI rally. Several people were injured and Khan was shot in the leg and spent months in a wheelchair after undergoing multiple surgeries. It remains unknown who was behind the murder attempt.
As PTI's demands for snap elections were ignored for over a year, Khan proceeded to dissolve the national assembly in February, and the provincial elections were mandatory to take place within 90 days as per the constitution. The election date was announced by the Supreme Court May 14, but the ruling was ignored by the current government which said that the elections will take place in October.
This delay further sparked indignation from the PTI and Khan called this the "dismantling of democracy and law of the jungle" in the country.
This week Khan once again stressed that the current government is doing everything in order to keep him out of the elections as the entire PTI party is being crushed openly.
Civil unrest in Pakistan - Sputnik India, 1920, 12.05.2023
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Imran Khan Gets Bail But Tensions Remain High as Crackdown on PTI Members Continues

Interactive Session With Journalists

During an interactive session with journalists on Sunday night, the PTI chief said a Punjab government delegation visited him on Sunday morning and gave him eight names, who they said were wanted men. "Everyone in the PTI is currently wanted," Khan added.
While asking for evidence of his party’s involvement in the May 9 violence, Khan said if PTI workers were found to be involved, he would help [police] catch them. Earlier, Khan had denied his people's involvement in the destruction of army property saying that his protests were always peaceful and PTI did not promote violence.
The former prime minister voiced apprehension about the coalition government’s intentions regarding the scheduled national elections in October. Khan worried that the elections might be postponed again until the government is confident that PTI will not emerge victorious.
Referring to violence and arson attacks on state buildings and army installations on May 9, Khan said that the way the government has used the pretext of arson, they have used that reaction after Khan's arrest to destroy the party.
Claiming that hundreds of women and children have been jailed, the PTI chief said, "They are now trying to try us in military courts."

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Pakistan (JUI-P) Demands a Halt to the Ongoing Crackdown on PTI

Over the weekend a delegation came to visit Imran Khan at his residence in Lahore.
During a meeting of a 12-member delegation of JUI-P, led by Maulana Khan Mohammad Sherani, a demand was made to the government. This included immediately halting the arrests of PTI members and to release senior party members, particularly women workers and leaders.
A riot police officer looks on after firing  tear gas to disperse supporters of former Prime Minister Imran Khan during clashes, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 15, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 02.05.2023
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Maulana Sherani, stressed the need for a thorough investigation to bring to justice those who had damaged public and private property on May 9.
He condemned victimization of media houses and journalists, saying that the government should stop using excessive force to gag the masses from demanding fundamental rights.
Pakistan’s famous journalist Imran Riaz Khan has been missing for over a week after he was arrested in the city of Sialkot. There have also been reports of the police teams carrying out raids at the residence of a journalist Sarfraz Khan, working for GNN, for his arrest and allegedly harassment of his family when he was not found there.
During the meeting, JUI-P and PTI together made a request to the Supreme Court of Pakistan to remove the caretaker governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and ensure holding of elections in line with constitutional requirements.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necesarily reflect the position of Sputnik.