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Ready to hold talks but not for striking deal, says Imran Khan

Khan named Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub and Leader of the Opposition in Senate Shibli Faraz for holding negotiations.
Last Updated : 04 May 2024, 10:34 IST
Last Updated : 04 May 2024, 10:34 IST

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Islamabad: Pakistan's jailed former prime minister Imran Khan has said that he is ready to hold talks but not to strike a 'deal' with anyone who has stolen his party's mandate in the February 8 general elections.

Talking to journalists at the high-security Adiala jail in Rawalpindi on Friday, the 71-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder asserted that negotiations were held only with adversaries and therefore the talks should be held with those who were the biggest opponents of PTI at present, apparently a reference to the military establishment, the Dawn newspaper reported on Saturday.

Underlining that he had been saying for 18 months that he was ready to hold negotiations but not to strike a deal, Khan reiterated that his party would hold talks with everyone but the three parties, the Geo News reported.

"Someone who wants to leave the country or avoid imprisonment makes a deal," he said, in an apparent reference to PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif.

Khan named Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur, Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Omar Ayub and Leader of the Opposition in Senate Shibli Faraz for holding negotiations.

“I have proposed these three names for talks and not for a deal," he said.

The February 8 general elections delivered a fractured mandate. Independent candidates, a majority of them backed by Khan's PTI, won 93 seats in the 336-member National Assembly.

Former three-time prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) won 75 seats while the Bilawal Zardari Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) came third with 54 seats. The Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan (MQM-P) won 17 seats.

Khan’s PTI party has maintained that the powerful establishment had favoured Sharif’s PML-N and that the Election Commission of Pakistan deliberately used a different form to declare the results to “steal the mandate” that belonged to it.

The PML-N struck a post-poll deal with Bhutto’s PPP and four smaller parties and formed the government in March.

Khan reiterated that he was “always ready for talks, but it could only take place when their stolen mandate was returned and innocent imprisoned workers were released", the Dawn newspaper quoted PTI’s media department as saying on Friday.

Without naming anyone, Khan told reporters that 'they' were going to lodge the fourth case against him concerning the Toshakhana gifts. They should make whatever the cases they wanted all at once, he added.

Khan's statement came a day after PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Ali Khan claimed that his party was neither holding dialogues with anyone nor had any special message for talks.

Gohar, speaking to journalists outside Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail, said that the former premier was facing 'politically motivated' cases. He added that the PTI founder requested the judiciary to give judgements on his cases at the earliest, the Geo News reported.

“Ali Amin Gandapur, Omar Ayub Khan and Shibli Faraz have been given the go-ahead to hold talks, but not to strike a deal,” Gohar said, adding that they were to talk to anyone except three political parties.

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Published 04 May 2024, 10:34 IST

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