(MANEND NEWS): In his first detailed interview since his release on bail, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has expressed grave concerns over the present state of democracy in Pakistan lamenting that it is at “an all-time low”.
After receiving respite by the courts, the former prime minister reprised his faith only in judiciary terming it as the “only hope” in the country for restoring the rights and freedoms of the people.
“Democracy is at an all-time low. The only hope we have is the judiciary,” the PTI chairman said while speaking with Sky News on Sunday.
The cricketer-turned-politician — whose government was toppled following a vote of no-confidence in the Parliament April last year — also raised alarm over the violation of fundamental rights in the country, which he claimed had reached unprecedented levels.
The PTI leader went on to share his own distressing experiences of being taken into custody, narrating how his residence had been raided by the police on two occasions.
During one of these raids, he said, the authorities forcefully broke down the doors of his house in his wife’s presence terming it an “unprecedented and unsettling situation” for himself.
Emphasising over the deteriorating condition of democracy in Pakistan, the former premier mentioned that approximately 150 cases had been lodged against him — a huge number of cases which had not been filed against any other politicians of the country.
Khan also accused the government of fearing elections, as, according to him, they [the ruling coalition] believed facing a significant defeat in the elections.
“The government is petrified of elections and they fear being wiped out by the PTI in the polls,” he said.
Revealing the extent of the political climate’s hostility, Khan claimed that the ruling coalition was only willing to hold elections if he was incarcerated or killed.
The PTI chief said that there had been two assassination attempts on his life, raising concerns about his safety and security.
When questioned about the incidents of violence during protests by his party workers after he was arrested on May 9, the cricketer-turned-politician promptly condemned all forms of violence.
Recounting the incident when he was arrested, he recalled a moment of confusion and said: “Some individuals resembling commandos suddenly appeared at the time of his arrest. I thought they came for my security.” However, Khan said, he soon realised that they were after him.
Khan said that it was due to the threats to his life that a judge previously issued orders for his protection. The “shocking and abrupt” nature of the incident, he recalled, left him momentarily believing that there was some terrorist in the room only to realise that he himself was the target.
Expressing dismay at the brutal treatment by everyone involved, he said that the excessive force used during the arrest left a lasting impression on him. “The way they manhandled and beat everyone and arrested me was unsettling and shocking.”
Despite the challenges he has faced, Khan said he has displayed unwavering determination and readiness to face imprisonment once again. “I am ready to go to jail again,” he maintained.