Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan announced to launch the PTI’s “Jail Bharo Tehreek” (Fill the prison movement) from February 22, which he said would start from Lahore with anti-government protest to block and condemn government’s alleged crackdown on PTI leaders and workers, coupled with the persisting and worsening economic situation of the country.
“I am directing my party to start preparations for the launch of the movement on February 22. Wednesday. We will start the movement from Lahore, and then kick it off in all other major cities every other day and we will fill the jails,” said Khan while addressing party workers via video link from his resident in Zaman Park Lahore.
“They (government) want to arrest us. We will fill the jails. There will be no place left in the jails as there will be no place left empty in prisons,” he added.
Khan’s announcement comes amid hearings of various cases against him are being heard in the Pakistani courts.
He faces the threat of arrest by the Anti-Terrorism Court (ATC) and the Lahore High Court (LHC) in two different cases, which have been asking Khan to appear before the it for the proceedings to move ahead.
But despite repeated summons, the former premier has not appeared before the courts as yet.
Khan’s call to fill the prisons campaign has been ridiculed and slammed by the Pakistan Democratic Government (PDM) political leadership.
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif has lashed out at Khan for calling on his supporters to come out of their homes and go to jails, while he himself sits in his house and keeps submitting bail petitions before the courts on cases against him, aimed to resist arrest.
“He (Khan) is calling on his supporters to come out and go to jails. While the coward himself is hiding in his house, seeking bail from the courts, making excuses of being old and sick and having himself saved from being arrested by shielding himself behind his supporters, who are guarding his residence in Lahore.”
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also slammed Khan, calling him a coward for hiding in his house and throwing his supporters on the streets to deliberately violate the rules and law, and get arrested to go to jail.
Sanaullah said that Khan’s real face is exposed to the masses as he continues to contradict his own claims, which showcase him as a self-centered individual, who is using others to save himself from being nabbed by the law.
The coming days are expected to filled with political turmoil, arrests, rallies and political chaos in the country as government looks to take Khan into custody, while his supporters flood the streets, especially outside his residence in Lahore to resist government attempts of his arrest.