Published On: Sat, Apr 29th, 2023
Published in Category: Government / Govt

Imran Khan says negotiations with govt will only go forward if they are willing to dissolve NA & hold elections forthwith

Share This

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan said on Friday that negotiations with the government will only go forward if they are willing to dissolve the National Assembly and hold elections forthwith.

The PTI chief made these remarks as he spoke informally with journalists ahead of his hearing at the Islamabad High Court (HC) where he was seeking protective bail in a sedition case.

A day earlier, after months of political bickering, the ruling coalition and PTI leaders sat across the table for talks -- the first formal interaction since the removal of former prime minister Imran Khan through a vote of no-confidence in April last year.

Notably, the talks rekindled hopes for breaking the ongoing political and constitutional impasse in the country.

On Friday, while sitting next to two of the three members representing the PTI in the negotiations, Fawad Ahmed Chaudhry and Makhdoom Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Imran Khan said that, "I have told both of them to only go forward with the talks if the government is willing to dissolve the assembly immediately and hold elections."

"If they bring up [holding elections in] September or October again, then there is no need [for negotiations]," he said, maintaining that now "the ball is in the government's court".

"If they want to hold elections on the same date, then they should," said Imran Khan as he urged the government heed to the PTI's demand for dissolving the assembly.

Imran Khan also denied his party's involvement in any attempts to sabotage the talks saying "there was no such statement from our side".

When asked by a journalist if there was a chance the PTI might return to the national and provincial assemblies and end their boycott, Imran Khan retorted if there even was a Constitution in place.

"They [the rival parties] want to break the Constitution but we stand by it," he continued, "we are standing by rule of law and they are committing contempt of court".

Imran Khan stressed that "if elections are not held on May 14, then it would be a breach of the Constitution", fearing that if that were to happen then "whoever is powerful will have their way".

The PTI chief also censured former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa for having "imposed a band of thieves" on the country.

He also spoke of a controversy initiated after a journalist made revelations concerning General Bajwa's off-record claims of Pakistan's unpreparedness in combat.

"I know more things than that, but this is a national security issue," said Imran Khan. "I don't want any international news to be made that would harm the country," he added.

Meanwhile, Imran Khan alleged that Islamabad police had taken PTI workers, present outside the court, into custody while they were “peacefully sitting in their vehicles”.

Tweeting a video of the alleged incident, the PTI chief said: “Our workers were sitting in their vehicles peacefully when ICT police, in brazen display of state oppression, pulled them out and took them away. This is why they want elections to be delayed because they feel they can break PTI by then, through fear of jail and harassment. Won’t work.”

PTI leader Dr. Shireen Mazari said that the “cabal of crooks and their handlers” had turned Islamabad police into a force for “terrorising citizens”.

“Today, they literally dragged PTI people sitting peacefully in their cars waiting for Imran Khan and took them away. Fascism at its peak — government so fearful of PTI popularity in nation!” she said.

Later, Islamabad Police said in a tweet that it had arrested 33 people from around the IHC, who it said were later released “on the assurance of good behaviour and following legal conditions”.

It said they had been arrested for “rioting and interfering in government matters” and had assured the police of not violating the law in the future.

“Equal law applies to everyone and no one will be discriminated against,” the police wrote.