Jailed Pakistan ex-PM Imran Khan signals willingness to negotiate with establishment

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party founder signalled his intention while speaking to reporters in the courtroom during the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust case in Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi.
Last Updated : 21 June 2024, 15:57 IST

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Islamabad: Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan on Friday hinted to “step back” from his position and engage in discussions with the establishment if convinced that such a move would be in the country's best interest.

The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party founder signalled his intention while speaking to reporters in the courtroom during the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust case in Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi. The case is about the alleged corruption of 190 million pounds.

"I want to hold talks for Pakistan. I have already said that if the country benefits from my stepping back, then satisfy me and I will step back,” Khan said when asked if he would talk to a representative appointed by the establishment for parleys with him. In Pakistan, the term "the establishment" refers to the powerful military.

However, he didn’t explain what exactly he meant by stepping back, which apparently could be about his position that the elections were rigged and the current government was illegitimate.

When asked about talks with the government, 71-year-old Khan said that any negotiations with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) could result in the downfall of their government.

“What negotiations will we do with the PML-N? Their government will end (if we hold talks),” he said.

He said that the entire nation is currently looking towards the judiciary.

When asked why he supported negotiations with the government in a meeting with PTI's current chairman Gohar Khan and then backed away, Khan said, “We did not support negotiations at the party level and we tasked Mahmood Khan Achakzai to negotiate.” Achakzai was his party’s candidate for the election of the president.

He was asked if Achakzai negotiated with the government on his (Khan’s) behalf and if he would accept those negotiations. Khan said, "When Mahmood Khan Achakzai brings an offer, we will think about it." The PTI founder said the country needs surgery because it has been going through crises right now. He said that Pakistan needs reforms and these reforms can only be done by a government with a public mandate.

The former premier also said that Pakistan cannot move forward when it is taking loans to pay off old debts, and when people of Pakistan are investing abroad.

He also criticised the government and said that such a budget, which burdened the people with taxes, was a result of the rigged elections.

Khan was also not happy with the alleged presence of an army major and colonel in the jail and warned file a case against them.

He also said that the government did legislation to give protection to corruption and theft, alleging that five cases of Shehbaz Sharif, four of Nawaz Sharif, two of Maryam Nawaz and then of Asif Zardari were terminated due to legislation.

Khan said by opening the doors of "white-collar crime", Shehbaz was asking the people to make sacrifices for the country. He also alleged that Maryam Nawaz was spending billions of rupees on her publicity while saying at the same time that the treasury was empty.

He also said Planning Minister Ahsan Iqbal insulted the judiciary by giving a statement about keeping him in jail for five years, which proved that there was no rule of law in the country.

Khan also lashed at the federal government for not honouring an agreement with his party’s chief minister of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa but reducing power outages in the province.

The former premier has been languishing in jail since August last year but he often gets an opportunity to interact with media persons who are allowed to go inside the Adiala jail to cover hearing of cases against him.

Published 21 June 2024, 15:57 IST

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