‘Stronger’ Imran Khan reflects on host of issues in message from jail

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Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan, in a message conveyed through his family from jail, has told his supporters that he has drastically changed since his arrest but he is now “stronger and fitter than ever”.

The deposed prime minister has been incarcerated, earlier in the Attock jail and currently in Adiala jail, since his arrest in a graft case on August 5.

Khan’s message from October 10 was posted on his official account on X, the microblogging site formerly known as Twitter, today (Thursday).

He said that the first few days in the prison were “particularly challenging” as there was no bed for him to sleep in the “insects and mosquitoes” infested cell he was kept in. However, he said, he has adjusted to the prison conditions.

“Let it be known that there’s a difference of day and night between the Imran Khan of today and the Imran Khan who was imprisoned on August 5. Today I am stronger and fitter; spiritually, mentally and physically, than ever before,” he said.

The former PM further said that he had the opportunity to “introspect” the last few years of his political life during his time in incarceration, besides an in-depth study of the Holy Quran along with other books.

“Regardless of what prison they keep me in, whatever conditions they impose upon me, I will not back down even an inch from the quest of Haqeeqi Azadi, for the upholding of the rule of law and the Constitution of Pakistan, at the core of which is free and fair elections. To those suggesting that I leave the country, know that I will live and die with Pakistan, and I will not leave my land to go anywhere,” he added.

Discussing the cipher case, in which he is currently being tried, Khan said that the case was “designed to protect former Army Chief General Bajwa and Donald Lu [Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Affairs]”.

It may be noted that the former prime minister has been claiming a “regime change” conspiracy backed by the United States to be behind the toppling of his government since 2022, the year he was ousted via a vote of no-confidence.

The controversy first emerged on March 27, 2022, when Khan — less than a month before his ouster in April last year — while addressing a public rally waved a letter before the crowd, claiming that it was a cipher from a foreign nation that had conspired with his political rivals to have PTI government overthrown.

He did not reveal the contents of the letter nor did he mention the name of the nation it came from. But a few days later, he accused the United States of conspiring against him and alleged that Donald Lu had sought his removal.

“I was the elected prime minister of the country. Treason was committed against me and my govt by General Bajwa, instead of investigating the foreign conspiracy in orchestrating a regime change, a case has been filed against me for informing the people of Pakistan, the real protectors of this country, about this treason,” he said in his message.

The PTI chief also said that the only thing that bothers him is that his supporters and workers are suffering for months in “illegal” imprisonment. He then called on the judiciary to provide justice and order the immediate release of the PTI workers.

Several PTI leaders and countless workers are currently imprisoned for their alleged involvement in the May 9 violence, the day violent mobs committed arson and ransacked government and military installations as a protest against Khan’s first arrest on the said date.

Besides that, Khan urged his supporters not to give up as “this time of trial will end”, referring to a verse of the Holy Quran that translates into “so, verily, with every difficulty, there is ease”.

“Keep raising your voice against this unelected predatory group and their facilitators at every forum and keep demanding a fair and transparent election in the country,” he added.

At the end of his message, Khan made a bold prediction that his supporters would come out in “huge numbers” on the day of the election to defeat all these parties combined.

It is worth mentioning that after his conviction in the Toshakhana case, Khan is no longer eligible for contesting in elections, while there are doubts as well about the PTI’s participation in the general elections which are expected at the beginning of next year.

“No matter how much these people cheat, their only destiny is defeat. Pakistan Zindabad,” the message concluded.

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