New Delhi: Pakistan Peoples Party is exploring legal action against former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman Imran Khan for his remark accusing Asif Ali Zardari of planning his assassination. The government has also responded by withdrawing security outside Khan’s residences.
“We are exploring a legal response to Imran’s latest defamatory & dangerous accusations. In the past he threatened my father that he was ‘in the crosshairs of his gun’. His & his associates’ history as both sympathizers & facilitators of terrorists are well documented,” said PPP chairman and Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto.
Khan’s speech from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore streamed live on YouTube Friday saw him allege that a fresh plan was being hatched by Asif Zardari to assassinate him after two failed attempts.
“Now they have made a Plan C, and Asif Zardari is behind this. He has loads of corruption money, which he looted from the Sindh government and spends on elections. He has given money to a terrorist outfit and people from powerful agencies are facilitating him,” alleged Imran.
Bilawal Bhutto, Asif Zardari’s son, Saturday said that Khan’s allegations against his father have increased threats against their family.
“After terrorist outfits called myself & my party out by name in direct threats, Imran has now made false accusations against my father, former president AZ. These statements increase threats to my father, my family and my part. We take them seriously given our history,” said Bhutto in a tweet.
After terrorist outfits called myself & my party out by name in direct threats, Imran has now made false accusations against my father former president AZ. These statements increase threats to my father, my family and my part. We take them seriously given our history. 1/6
— BilawalBhuttoZardari (@BBhuttoZardari) January 28, 2023
Referring to the Wazirabad attack where Khan suffered bullet injuries in the right leg in November 2022, Khan said that then a “Plan B” was made to “eliminate” him in the name of religion. “The nation should be aware of who was behind his assassination bid so they cannot enjoy their lives after they have done this,” claimed Khan.
Earlier on Friday, Awami Muslim League (AML) chief Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed reiterated Khan’s allegation against Asif Zardari.
— Sheikh Rashid Ahmed (@ShkhRasheed) January 27, 2023
Amid Khan’s claims, additional security of at least 250 policemen deployed at his Lahore Bani Gala residence was withdrawn.
Meanwhile, the Punjab Home Department also wrote a letter to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government to withdraw the province’s police from the former prime minister’s home in Lahore’s Zaman Park, reported Geo News.
Reacting to the withdrawn security cover, PTI leader Shibli Faraz said in a tweet that the former premier’s security “is his right” and that if something happens to Imran, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah would be responsible.
Islamabad Police just confirmed instructions given to them by Interior min to withdraw Personal security of Ex PM IK to which he is legally entitled .knowing the security threats & a failed assassination attempt on his life very https://t.co/vDeDJZV65L min would be responsible.
— Senator Shibli Faraz (@shiblifaraz) January 27, 2023
Pakistan Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif slammed Imran Khan for levelling “baseless” allegations against Zardari. He further said that Imran Khan’s “nonsensical rhetoric” is an attempt to remain politically relevant.
Such nonsensical rhetoric is an attempt to remain politically relevant. The whole nation knows how he has used politics of hatred to divide the society for the sake of power.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) January 28, 2023
In a joint news conference Saturday, PPP leaders Farhatullah Babar, Nayyar Bukhari and Qamar Zaman Kaira also criticised Imran over his allegations.
The PPP leaders said that the former PM had “lost his mind” and the party would issue a legal notice demanding Khan rescind his allegations, reported ARY News.
Bukhari said that the allegations hurled by the PTI chief were quite serious this time and would be met with a stern response.
Mixed reactions from citizens
Meanwhile, sharp reactions were received on the remarks of Bilawal Bhutto on Twitter where he slammed Imran Khan.
“Mr Zardari who stopped you to catch the killers of your mother, your uncles and other members ? Who benefited the most from your mothers death? Focus to find her killers or she will never forgive you,” Shahid Mursaleen, an entrepreneur, said in a tweet.
Another Twitter user, Alpha Bravo Charlie, replied to Bhutto’s tweet saying, “Wake up and smell the coffee… the entire word knows about your corrupt father @AAliZardari”
Abdul Wali Bughio, another Twitter user said, “Imran Khan is a coward that is why he is making such statements.”
(Edited by Prashant)