Imran Khan says ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ to commence from Feb 22

Move to press Pakistan government to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces within 90 days

By PTI

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Pakistan's former prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview in Islamabad. — Reuters file
Pakistan's former prime Minister Imran Khan speaks during an interview in Islamabad. — Reuters file

Published: Fri 17 Feb 2023, 8:32 PM

Pakistan’s former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday announced the start of ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek’ (fill the jail movement) from February 22 in Lahore to press the government to hold elections in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces within 90 days and stop the "political victimisation" of his party men and allies.

Khan announced the move during his address to the nation via video link from Lahore's Zaman Park residence on Friday, where he has been residing since being shot in the legs on November 3 last year.


"We will fill the jails. The imported government will have no space left to hide. We will start the movement from Lahore on Feb 22 and then take it to all major cities of the country,” the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman said.

Khan, 70, said he would also court arrest once his bullet wound heals in a two-week time.


In November last year, Khan suffered three bullet injuries to his right leg during an anti-government rally in Wazirabad in the Punjab province of Pakistan. Giving reasons for the ‘Jail Bharo Tehreek,’ the cricketer-turned-politician said: “There seems to be no rule of law in the country as despite the court’s order to hold the polls in Punjab within 90 days the state institutions are not ready to comply with it. If the elections are not held within 90 days in two provinces, it will create a constitutional crisis and promote jungle law in the country,” he lambasted.

The PTI dissolved its governments in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over a month ago. Under the Constitution, elections have to be held within 90 days after the dissolution of an assembly.

The nine-party government led by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has declared that holding separate elections for the provincial and national assemblies is not in the best interest of the country besides the country cannot afford it because of economic woes and the worst law and order situation.

“The government and other state institutions take one excuse or another like having no funds and law and order situation only to delay the polls in both provinces. If the judiciary can’t get the Constitution protected it means the rule of law has come to an end in Pakistan,” Khan said.

Imran Khan also talked about the Sharif government’s tactics of "torturing and political victimisation" of his party leaders and allies.

He was referring to sedition cases filed against his party leaders including Fawad Chaudhry, Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill.

“The government is keen to put us behind bars and by courting arrest we are going to fulfill its desire,” he said.


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