ISLAMABAD: Imran Khan, Chairman of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party, has announced that in the event of his disqualification by a court, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi will assume leadership of the party, Khan stated on Saturday during a gathering with journalists and lawyers at his residence in Lahore’s Zaman Park.
Khan’s statement comes as he continues to face a series of legal cases, ranging from corruption to terrorism charges, since his removal from power in April of last year.
Following the issuance of arrest warrants by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Khan was apprehended on May 9 in relation to a 190 million pounds case involving Al-Qadir Trust. However, he was released approximately four days later after the Supreme Court deemed his arrest to be illegal.
The arrest of Khan on May 9 sparked violent protests nationwide, resulting in the vandalism and destruction of defense and public installations across the country. As a response, the high-powered National Security Committee (NSC), comprised of top civil and military leaders, vowed to prosecute the rioters under applicable laws, including the Army Act.
Addressing the departure of several party leaders following the May 9 incidents, Khan expressed resilience, stating that the situation would soon change. “I will deliver a significant surprise in the coming days,” he added.
Khan acknowledged that some party leaders were compelled to leave, while others had been exposed. Emphasizing the importance of the youth within his party, he affirmed their right to receive party tickets and expressed confidence in PTI’s ability to win the upcoming general elections, despite the defection of certain party leaders. Additionally, Khan called for a referendum to gauge the public’s support for his party.
Responding to rumors of the PTI-backed president’s resignation, Khan assured that Arif Alvi would continue his duties in accordance with the Constitution.
Furthermore, Khan alleged a conspiracy to “arrest, disqualify, and even assassinate” him. Denying accusations that he directed his party workers to attack military installations, he categorically rejected such claims, asserting that he had never instructed or incited violence or vandalism.
Khan reiterated that he held no animosity towards the military, stating, “There is no fight with the army, this army is mine.”
The former Prime Minister strongly criticized the coalition government, accusing it of “destroying” the country’s economy. He stressed that holding elections was the only viable solution to the current crisis.