Islamabad: Former Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday invited his supporters to come out on Saturday (August 20,2022) to protest against the alleged torture of PTI leader Shahbaz Gill and against restrictions imposed on Ary News. Announcing several rallies, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief invited everyone to join the protest against the Shehbaz Sharif government.
“Tomorrow I will be leading a rally after Maghrib, from China chowk to F9 Park, in support of Dr Gill and in protest against the torture inflicted on him. We will also be protesting against the muzzling of Ary simply because Ary didn’t toe the official line and gave coverage to our narrative,” Imran Khan tweeted.
“I am inviting everyone to join us tomorrow and raise their voice in protest,” he said in another tweet.
Gill was arrested by the police on August 9 after he made controversial remarks against the Pakistan army on television that were deemed as “highly hateful and seditious” by the country’s media authority.
Imran’s close aide was arrested on charges of colluding with a private TV news channel in carrying out anti-state propaganda.
Notably, Pakistan’s regulatory watchdog PEMRA has alleged that the ARY News channel was airing “false, hateful and seditious” content based on “absolute disinformation with a clear and present threat to national security by instigating rebellion within the armed forces.”
Imran Khan’s party has alleged that Gill was tortured in police custody previously and his life remains in danger. He said a protest is being organised in support of Gill who he alleged was the victim of physical torture that included sexual abuse.
“If a political worker [like Shahbaz Gill] can be subjected to such torture, it could happen to anyone,” the PTI chief told reporters outside Islamabad’s Pakistan Institute of Medical Sciences (PIMS), as quoted by Dawn newspaper.
The PTI chief in an earlier statement said Pakistan was “descending into a banana republic”.
He even warned the Pakistan military establishment to “review its policies” while asserting that he preferred death instead of accepting the Shehbaz Sharif government.
This warning comes as the PTI chief is embroiled in a battle with the ruling coalition, which he says came to power as a result of a US-backed conspiracy against him.