ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan said on Monday his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party would present evidence to international human rights organizations and foreign capitals of alleged rights violations committed by the Pakistani government against his supporters.
Khan’s supporters have had clashes with police a number of times in the last week, including on Saturday when he visited a judicial complex in Islamabad for a court appearance. Before that, supporters pelted police and other law enforcers with stones and bricks when they arrived outside Khan’s Lahore residence with court orders to arrest him in a case involving the sale of state gifts, popularly called the Toshakhana case.
Addressing supporters on Monday via video link, Khan said the government had wanted to isolate him from his supporters at the judicial complex and laid a "trap" to kill him, while police had fired tear gas shells to provoke his followers into a confrontation. He urged Pakistan's top court to take notice of the alleged human rights violations in Pakistan.
"We will approach international human rights organizations today," Khan said. "We will [also] approach foreign capitals through the PTI's chapters in various parts of the world.”
The ex-premier's statement came hours after Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif accused Khan of orchestrating a "foreign-funded" campaign against Pakistan's army chief, Syed Asim Munir.
Sharif was responding to criticism leveled at Munir by PTI protesters who had gathered outside the White House in Washington D.C. on Sunday, many of them directly chanting slogans against the Pakistan army and its chief.
Khan accused the Sharif-led government of deliberately trying to pit the PTI against the country's powerful military.
"Let me emphasize, this army is my army and it is also my country," Khan said. "I will live and die in Pakistan."
Khan, widely believed to have been propelled to power in the 2018 general elections with the support of the army, has since said to have fallen out with the military. Kahn denies the polls were rigged in his favour, while the military says it no longer interferes in politics.