Will use KP’s force when Imran calls next march: CM Mahmood Khan

Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has said that when PTI chief Imran Khan calls another protest march in the vein of the party’s Azadi March, he will use his province’s “force”.

“When Imran Khan again gives a call [for another march] I am telling you that I will use Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s force,” the chief minister warned at a lawyer’s convention in Peshawar on Monday. He did not elaborate on what he meant by “force”.

CM Mahmood made these remarks at a lawyers’ convention in Peshawar on Monday, apparently referring to the PTI’s May 25 “Haqiqi Azadi March” on Islamabad, which ended prematurely before reaching D-Chowk — the march’s destination — after Imran gave a six-day deadline to the government to announce general elections and warned that he would “return” to the capital if his demands were not met.

On the eve of May 25, when the march was to begin, police raids were carried out at the residences of PTI workers and leaders and arrests were made as the government moved to scuttle the protest, claiming that it was aimed at spreading “chaos and disorder”.

Subsequently, the use of force, roadblocks and clashes between police and protesters were witnessed during the protest march, while deaths were reported among PTI protesters and law enforcement personnel.

Later, cases were registered against several PTI leaders on allegations of rioting, violation of Section 144 and other charges.

Imran Khan has in recent speeches, warned that his workers would devise a “better plan” in the next iteration of the Azadi march. He has also said that he called off the march to avert bloodshed, and more recently, in an interview, said some of his protesters were “also armed“.

Referring to the episode, Chief Minister Mahmood said: “Those of our people who have been injured [in police clashes] — we are going to the court against this imported government.”

He also said that a meeting had been held with the Insaf Lawyers Forum and both he and Imran had conveyed to them to prepare documents to register a case against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah under Section 302 (premeditated murder) of the Pakistan Penal Code.

“We will not spare him,” he said, adding that previously, he had participated in a “peaceful rally”.

Earlier in his address, the KP chief minister said he had consulted his legal team and vowed to “avenge what this imported and incompetent (federal) government had done with Khyber Pakthunkhwa and its people”. The chief minister did not elaborate further on what he was referring to.

He urged the people to support him on the move, announcing that he would be approaching the Supreme Court against the federal government.

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, he called him a “rangeela” and a “mental case”.

Chief Minister Mahmood then alluded to the prime minister’s recent address in which he said he would “sell the shirt on his back and provide the cheapest wheat flour to people”.

“These are outfits of a robber that no one wants to buy,” the chief minister said.

He also responded to the prime minister’s 24-hour ultimatum to him on Sunday, in which the premier asked him to bring down the price of 10kg wheat flour bag to Rs400.

Responding to the statement, Chief Minister Khan said: “I am giving you an ultimatum, imported prime minister, ineligible prime minister, thief prime minister. We will snatch our right — Khyber Pakhtunkhwa’s right from you.”

“We are going to file a case against them and, God willing, we will succeed,” he concluded his speech.

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