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Thursday April 18, 2024

Imran says he’s ready to talk

“For the last 19 months, I’ve been saying that I’m ready to talk [...] I’m a politician,” Imran Khan says in Adiala jail

By Khalid Iqbal & Mumtaz Alvi & Shabbir Dar
January 20, 2024
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan speaks virtually to his supporters from Lahore on May 30, 2023. — Facebook/Imran Khan
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan speaks virtually to his supporters from Lahore on May 30, 2023. — Facebook/Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD: After being behind bars for months, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan said on Friday he was a politician, who was “open for dialogue” and was “ready to talk”.

“For the last 19 months, I’ve been saying that I’m ready to talk [...] I’m a politician,” Khan told journalists in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail.

While referring to the prevailing political landscape in the country, Khan said steps were being taken to form a “controlled parliament”.

“My biggest mistake was to accept a weak government. Instead of a weak government, I should have held elections again. It would be better to sit in the opposition rather than forming a weak coalition government,” former premier said.

Responding to a question, the PTI founder said a hung parliament or feeble government could not address the economic problems being faced by the country.

“Reforms and improvement can only be done by a strong government,” he added.

The PTI founder said Nawaz Sharif had come out to run an election campaign. The biggest problem was the external deficit, which they left. The PTI government left the growth rate at 6.7pc, which they reduced to zero, inflation went up to 12.4pc during our time, which they took to 38pc.

He said during the PTI government, terrorism reduced. “We had good relations with [Afghan President Ashraf] Ghani government. They came and destroyed the relations with Afghanistan as well,” he added.

He said Iran did wrong by attacking Pakistan; that should not have happened.

Imran said solution to all problems was fair and transparent elections; guns do not solve problems; political government seeks political solutions.

He said Azam Khan, his for principal secretary, spoke the truth in court. He said the cipher was placed before the National Security Committee and the cabinet. The National Security committee had condemned the cipher.

To a question, he said [former army chief Qamar Javed] Bajwa’s decisions sunk the ship of Pakistan, and the army was not to blame for that.

Meanwhile, in a special message from Adiala Jail, Imran Khan urged the nation on Friday to come out in massive numbers on February 8 to cast their votes and help realise the dream of true independence by freeing the country from the clutches of certified criminals. He said February 8 was the day to differentiate between freedom and slavery.

“I firmly believe that my nation will stand with freedom and they will guard and secure true independence of Pakistan with the power of their vote in the forthcoming general election,” he added.

He warned that a ‘clique of criminals’ wanted to keep the nation enslaved by robbing the elections scheduled for February 8, claiming a certified criminal was brought back to the country under the infamous London Plan.