ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan Monday conceded that the backdoor talks were held [with the powers-that-be] but things remained unclear.
Replying a question by a reporter, he said talks were taking place, and, at the same time, not. The reason for that was that Nawaz Sharif wanted the election to be delayed; Nawaz and Zardari were doing politics of 1990s, but their time was over now, he added. Addressing a news conference, he made it clear that if the elections were not announced, then he would give call for the long march and that announcement would be made any time in October.
About the Sunday’s by-election, he contended that it was not an election but a referendum and people came out to vote, which proved that they did not accept this assembly and wanted new elections in the country.
Imran alleged that these people (rulers) would lead the country towards destruction but would not announce elections. “So I am giving them time again, but march will not go beyond October. From now onwards, I will announce date any time in October, giving them time not to destroy the country while protecting themselves,” he added.
He said dialogue was out of question with the ruling elite. “There are no negotiations with thieves. You can hold reconciliation talks with the Baloch or Sindhi nationalists, but not with the felons like them,” Khan added.
He emphasised that this is the right time to announce election, if not, then he will march and his preparations were almost complete. He added that once he would make an announcement, people would take to the streets, and the way they would come out, none could guarantee what would be its outcome when so many people would be out.
“[Interior Minister] Rana Sanaullah won’t even know what hit him, such is my preparation,” Khan warned the top minister, who recently claimed the government’s preparation was 10 times more as compared to May 25.
The PTI chairman said that why people have not yet come out on the roads even though inflation they had caused in the last five months was the highest in 50 years: it is because a political party takes them to a systematic protest and brings them back, he claimed.
Imran said, “I want to tell all those who can do something in this regard in Pakistan and also to these political parties that you do not have much time; we will not go beyond October; we have decided and I will announce it any time in a few days.”
He reiterated that the country’s need at this time is only clean and transparent elections; unless there is political stability in the country, the economy would not be good; these people could not handle the country; these people are afraid of elections, all of them have fought elections together, yet they could not win. They would continue pushing the country towards destruction, but would not hold elections.
About the by-election, he alleged that it was a planned election and it was revealed in audio leaks that they (rulers) wanted elections in those constituencies only where their vote bank was double than the PTI’s. He claimed he lost election in Karachi’s one constituency (Malir) as PPP resorted to massive rigging and Sindh election commissioner was on Sindh government’s payroll.
Imran said they had no trust in Chief Election Commissioner Sikandar Sultan Raja and demanded him hold election again in Karachi, on the pattern of Daska by-poll.
Bilawal Bhutto, he pointed out, was touring the whole world, what is the benefit of this diplomacy, Joe Biden bracketed Pakistan with China and Russia that he considers as the US opponents. Where did his diplomacy go? And what he said more dangerous; Joe Biden said Pakistan is a dangerous place, talking about Pakistan’s nuclear programme with it; now this old propaganda is going on with Pakistan.
He said that in the 1980s, there was Islamic bomb propaganda in Western newspapers. “I said five months ago that the price they will ask of us to bail us out will be only one thing; that we pay them that price. Look at the situation of Ukraine today, the Ukrainian people are saying that if they did not take their nuclear programme, they would not have been in the present situation; so this is our national security issue.”
He said that a meeting of PTI senior leadership was held on Monday. Whatever was done with Azam Swati, if he had expressed something in emotion in a tweet, then the law is made for it, at 3 o’clock, the FIA people came, and started beating the 75-year-old man in front of his grandson and granddaughter. Then they took him to the police station. After being arrested by the agency, which Constitution of Pakistan allows it, he asked.
Imran charged that the agencies tortured Swati further and stripped him, and tortured him. What the big crime of the country’s senator had done? It had been reported in the major newspapers of the world that the senator of Pakistan was tortured and put in jail because he criticised the army chief; whether this happens when one criticises the army chief in the world, he raised a question.
He said that the job of the Supreme Court was to protect the fundamental rights of human beings, and our senators will file petitions in the SC and we will approach the international organisations as well on this matter.
In response to a question, Imran said that who wants to compete with the institutions of their country? It is the loss of ourselves and the country. If the country’s largest political party has confrontation with the judiciary, the army or any other institution, the loss is of the country, we have also been walled, but despite this. We have tried not to do anything that will harm the institutions, he added.
To a question about the appointment of the army chief, he asked if the people like Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari qualified for appointment of the country’s army chief. “The appointment of the army chief is very important in terms of Pakistan’s national security; the army chief should be appointed on merit,” he demanded.
He said that they (rulers) were rapidly taking the country towards default, and they had rendered Pakistan bankrupt twice earlier, whereas he and Shaukat Tarin had sent a message to the establishment that the economy would not be handled if his government was removed. They (rules) are not thinking about the country but about their own corruption cases and that was why they managed the NRO-II.
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