ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday accused the heads of the Islamabad and Punjab police forces of plotting to kill him in a security operation he alleged would take place "either today or tomorrow."
Khan, who sustained gunshot wounds during an anti-government rally in November last year, has accused the government of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and the caretaker government in Pakistan's most populous Punjab province of plotting to murder him. Both have strongly rejected Khan's claims.
Clashes broke out between Khan supporters and Islamabad police on Saturday after the former premier showed up at the capital's judicial complex. Khan had arrived to attend the hearing of a case relating to the sale of state gifts during his stint as prime minister. The episode followed violent clashes between Khan supporters and Punjab police last Tuesday in Lahore, when police arrived to arrest him on court orders at his Zaman Park residence.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party leader has accused the federal government of playing a "trap" to have him killed during his appearance at the judicial complex on Saturday. The government has rejected his allegations and vowed stern action against those involved in attacking police.
In his latest video message, Khan said the Islamabad police chief and Punjab police chief, and their "handlers"--a term he uses frequently for Pakistan's powerful military establishment—had come up with a plan to hold a police operation outside his Zaman Park residence "either today or tomorrow" to assassinate him.
"They have made two squads, one has been chosen by the Islamabad IG and the other by the Punjab IG. They will infiltrate our people here [at the Zaman Park residence] and from here, shoot dead four to five policemen," Khan said.
"After that, an attack will take place from the other side, they [Punjab Police] will respond with gunfire and kill our people, carry out Model Town-style murders and then they will arrive at my house and kill me like Murtaza Bhutto was killed," he added.
Khan urged his party supporters to remain calm in the face of police aggression, telling them not to be provoked into violence.
"This time if they try to provoke you, do not give them any sort of reaction," Khan said.
On Tuesday, caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Raza Naqvi said he had ordered police to do "whatever it takes" to uphold the writ of the government in the province.
He announced a joint investigation team had been set up to probe the attacks on police by PTI supporters, vowing to take stern action against them. Naqvi and the Punjab police chief have earlier accused Khan of using militants from Pakistan's northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province to repel police forces at his Lahore residence.