Former prime minister Imran Khan on Tuesday maintained that despite losing its electoral symbol, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) will stage a surprise after the Feb. 8 general elections as part of a ‘Plan C.’
Last week, the Supreme Court upheld an Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) order withdrawing the PTI’s electoral symbol, forcing its candidates to contest the upcoming polls as independent candidates on separate symbols. According to Khan, during an informal conversation with journalists at Adiala Jail, ‘Plan A’ was contesting polls under a unified symbol. Barring that, he continued, ‘Plan B’ called for securing an alliance with the PTI-Nazriati group and contesting polls on its ticket. That plan also collapsed after the group’s leader said he had not achieved any deal with the PTI.
While Khan did not specify what ‘Plan C’ entails, PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan a day earlier told Geo News it called for the party’s winning candidates to “reform” the PTI after polls and then requesting the ECP to grant it reserved seats accordingly. It remains unclear if this plan will succeed or fail like the two previous plans.
“The Supreme Court was our last hope but we have no faith in this court,” he said, adding he wasn’t even disappointed in the decision and alleging Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Qazi Faez Isa’s decision was motivated by animosity toward the PTI. “The people of Pakistan have made their decision,” he added.
Stressing that only free and fair elections can bring about political stability, he reiterated that he had never attacked the Pakistan Army, nor had his party targeted any of its assets. Referring to the May 9 riots, he maintained his party was being “unfairly” targeted for it as part of the so-called “London” plan. Lamenting that roughly 10,000 workers and leaders of the PTI were arrested after the riots, he claimed there was no CCTV footage proving the involvement of his party’s workers in the unrest. Even if they were, he continued, only 150-200 would’ve been involved and not 10,000.
On the cipher case, the PTI founder claimed to journalists former Army chief Gen. (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa had offered him a two-thirds majority to stop discussing the classified document, warning of consequences if he continued to highlight the issue in public. Bajwa, he claimed, had made this offer during meetings at the President’s House, adding this was contingent on Khan “behaving.”
To a question, Khan also denied media reports of him threatening members of the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and warned them of proceedings for high treason during a recent trial. However, the ECP—in a separate hearing—indicated this had occurred by telling Khan’s counsel Sohaib Shaheen that it had exercised “restraint” over what had occurred at Adiala Jail.