Home Latest News Imran Khan Willing to Negotiate with ‘Anyone Who is In Power’

Imran Khan Willing to Negotiate with ‘Anyone Who is In Power’

PTI chief claims he will quit politics if ‘powerful’ can convince negotiating committee his exit will benefit Pakistan

by Staff Report

Screengrab of PTI chief Imran Khan’s address to his supporters

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday announced he is willing to speak to “anyone who is in power” to discuss whether his leaving politics, as well as general elections in October, will benefit the country.

“I am making a [negotiating] committee [of my party] and I say two things—if they can convince the committee that Pakistan will benefit without Imran Khan and they have a solution, I am ready to leave politics for the sake of the country. I’ll step back,” he said during an address to his supporters via video-link from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore. “Or alternately, they can tell the committee what will be the benefit to Pakistan of holding elections in October,” he said, alleging that the aim of polls in October—which is when polls are to be held after the constitutional term of the National Assembly expires—was to “crush” the PTI.

Stressing that the committee will talk to “anyone who is in power,” he questioned why people should wait for elections in October amidst various crises facing the public. If the “powerful” could not convince the committee of either option, he said, he would continue his fight “until the last ball.” He also warned the establishment to “not become instrumental in destroying the country” in an attempt to oust him from power, alleging that “they” have benefitted from attacks on military installations during the May 9 riots and used it as pretext to crack down on his party.

“[Such] a crackdown has never been seen in the history of the country,” he claimed, despite independent pundits in recent weeks recalling the suffering unleashed on dissenters and the general public during various martial laws and urging the PTI chief not to diminish their sacrifices. “They have jailed the entire [PTI] leadership and even those who are not even a part of the party. There is only one way out [for them], that they utter the magic words of ‘I am leaving PTI’,” he alleged. Over the past week, over two-dozen PTI workers and leaders have announced they are quitting the party, claiming that they cannot continue to support it after the violence witnessed during the May 9 riots triggered by Khan’s arrest in a corruption case.

Khan said he had instructed his party leaders and workers to remain in hiding to avoid arrest and harassment from authorities. “This dark night will soon end as soon as dawn will break,” he said, maintaining that those “working to crush the PTI” should realize that ideology never dies and rises anew as soon as it gets an opportunity.

Pleading to the Supreme Court to end its internal discord, he claimed the judges could “save democracy and the fundamental rights” of the people through unity. “I had decided to dissolve the two provincial assemblies in the hope that fresh elections would be held within 90 days as per the Constitution but the incumbent rulers, aided by powers-that-be, did not hold elections in Punjab even on May 14—the date given by the Supreme Court,” he lamented. “History will never forget if you do not save democracy at this critical juncture in the life of Pakistan,” he conveyed to the judiciary.

The PTI chief also questioned why no probe had been launched into allegations of law enforcers opening fire on unarmed protesters, reiterating that 25 demonstrators had been killed and dozens more injured. “Respect the fundamental rights of people or announce that the right to peaceful protest has been withdrawn, as the country has become a Banana Republic,” he said, adding that the government was violating human rights by imprisoning people in “small cells.” He also lamented that rights organizations were not raising their voice for his supporters, alleging specifically that journalists’ bodies were not even raising voices for anchor Imran Riaz Khan.

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