PTI-‘Q’ merger in the works, Imran reveals

Published January 3, 2023
PTI chief Imran Khan speaks during an interview with GNN TV. — Picture via GNN/Twitter
PTI chief Imran Khan speaks during an interview with GNN TV. — Picture via GNN/Twitter

KARACHI: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) are in talks to fight the next general elections on the same symbol, PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said.

In an interview with the GNN TV channel that aired on Monday, the PTI chairman said he has also recommended that PML-Q merge with the PTI.

Calling the coalition politics “tough,” he said partners use the leverage to extract benefits from the government.

“That’s why we are trying to fight the election on one symbol.”

Talking about the politics in Punjab,

Mr Khan claimed his party’s lawmakers were being pressurised to not vote for Chief Minister Parvez Elahi during the vote of confidence in the assembly.

Says party MPAs being ‘blackmailed’ not to vote for Elahi; accuses ex-COAS of ‘hiring’ Hussain Haqqani

Mr X and Y have sent messages to our MPAs that Imran Khan has no future and they should switch sides or abstain from voting,” he claimed.

He added that he was still determined to dissolve Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies after the vote of confidence.

The two sides of ex-COAS

Mr Khan continued to level accusations against former army chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa and said he completely changed after getting the extension in 2019.

Talking about the change in Gen Bajwa’s views, Mr Khan claimed that the former COAS used to “give indication” that he was against opposition leaders and even called them corrupt.

“After that [extension] … he started saying to focus on the economy and forget accountability,” Mr Khan said, adding that in his view, the ex-COAS didn’t think corruption was bad.

Mr Khan also accused the retired general of hiring ex-ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani to campaign against him in Washington.

“A whole campaign was carried out that Imran Khan was anti-US and he [Gen Bajwa] was pro-US,” he said while accusing Mr Haqqani.

He added his government had no idea and the ex-ambassador was hired bypassing the foreign office in Aug 2021.

“The regime change conspiracy didn’t start with Donald Lu. It started with [Husain] Haqqani.”

On the results of the 2018 general elections where the PTI emerged as the majority party, Mr Khan claimed his party had won more seats than the final tally showed.

“When I see it now, it becomes clear that Bajwa doctrine was to not allow anyone to strengthen so much that they can’t be controlled,” he said.

Talking about the current political situation, he claimed a “game” is still being played to stop him from coming back to power “by all means”.

“Even if you stop Imran Khan [from coming to power], how will you fix the issues faced by the country?” he asked.

Mr Khan said the country will have no future unless the establishment decided to hold free and fair elections and back a government with the mandate of the people.

Published in Dawn, january 3th, 2023

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