Imran Khan calls for new demonstrations after his return to Lahore

After the decision to release him from the Pakistani Supreme Court on bail, former Prime Minister Imran Khan calls for new demonstrations in the country, and says in his speech that “freedom cannot be obtained easily. It must be extracted. And sacrifice for it.”

  • Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan
    Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan

The former Pakistani Prime Minister, Imran Khan, called for new demonstrations in the country, after days of confrontations between his supporters and the Pakistani security forces that were sparked by his arrest, before he was released on bail, yesterday, Friday.

Addressing his supporters from his home in Lahore on Saturday night, Imran Khan said, “Freedom cannot be obtained easily. It must be snatched away. It must be sacrificed for it.”

In his speech, Khan distanced himself from the vandalism of military facilities, denying that members of his party were involved in it, and calling for an “independent investigation” into the violence.

While he called on his supporters to take to the streets of the country again, tomorrow, Sunday, Khan announced that he would resume his campaign for early elections on Wednesday.

On the other hand, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah pledged to arrest Khan again, knowing that the latter has been pressing for months to hold elections before next October, hoping to return to power.

Earlier Saturday, the current prime minister, Shahbaz Sharif, who succeeded Khan, warned that “those who have shown anti-state behavior will be arrested and prosecuted in anti-terrorism courts.”

On Friday, a court in Islamabad released Khan after the Supreme Court overturned his arrest, which caused riots across the country.

The Supreme Court confirmed that Khan’s arrest was “invalid and illegal,” and considered that “this arrest came at the initiative of the Anti-Corruption Bureau, and violated his rights to resort to the judiciary,” because “it should not have happened in a court.”

At least 8 people have been killed and as many as 290 injured in clashes across Pakistan over Khan’s arrest. Hundreds of police officers were injured, and more than four thousand people were arrested, most of them in the provinces of Punjab in the east of the country, the capital, Lahore, and Khyber Pakhtukhua in the northwest, according to the Pakistani authorities.