Imprisoned former prime minister of Pakistan, Imran Khan, expressed his willingness for dialogue and reconciliation with the powerful establishment, signaling a desire to mend ties ahead of the upcoming general elections next month. The 71-year-old leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party has been detained for over six months, facing multiple cases.
The Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) has canceled the iconic cricket 'bat' symbol of Khan's party, and nomination papers for Khan and several PTI leaders have been rejected. Despite appeals, various courts have upheld these decisions, posing challenges for the PTI in the election race.
Imran Khan, convicted in the Toshakhana corruption case and facing trial in multiple other cases, including under the Official Secrets Act and May 9 violence, expressed his openness to dialogue while speaking to journalists at the Adiala jail in Rawalpindi. He emphasized that he has been ready to talk for the past 19 months, stating, "I'm a politician."
Facing setbacks after being ousted in a no-confidence move in April 2022, Khan acknowledged mistakes in accepting a weak government, suggesting that holding elections again would have been a better choice. He criticized the formation of a "controlled parliament" and asserted that a strong government is essential for addressing the country's economic problems.
Khan maintained that his party is being targeted over the May 9 violence and claimed that the violent protests were part of the 'London agreement,' where he alleges that Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) chief Nawaz Sharif is favored by the powerful Pakistan Army. As the PTI faces challenges, its major rivals, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), have already initiated nationwide campaigns for the upcoming elections.
(With Agency Inputs)