Three of incarcerated PTI chief Imran Khan’s lawyers said after meeting him in jail on Saturday that he was “willing to talk to all” but only on elections.
“Finally met Khan sahib at Attock jail with other colleagues. Thank God, he is in great spirit but is concerned about the ongoing uncertainty, inflation, and terrorism. He is willing to talk to all BUT about the election,” his lawyer, Barrister Gohar Khan, posted on X.
Similarly, lawyer Nadeem Haider Panjutha posted: “Khan sahib dismissed all fake news about him seeking pardon, worrying and wanting to leave the country. He said ‘I will live and die in Pakistan’.
“He also said we are willing to talk to all but just on elections.”
Meanwhile, another of Imran’s lawyers, Intazar Hussain Panjutha, said: “Khan sahib said today that he will talk to any political party or institution on the matter of holding elections.”
Early elections had been a key demand of the PTI since Imran’s prime ministerial term ended prematurely following a no-confidence motion in April last year. After his ouster from the top office, the ex-premier launched an aggressive campaign under the slogan of ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’, calling for elections and blaming the incumbent government and army leadership for his ouster.
Simultaneously, Imran also invited the then-Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government multiple times for talks on elections, but negotiations that eventually began in April between his party and the coalition in power at the time remained unsuccessful.
During a recent interaction with the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) officials, PTI leaders stressed that elections should be held within the constitutionally mandated period of 90 days — by November 9 — following the dissolution of the National Assembly on August 9 as mandated under Article 224 of the Constitution.
The ECP, however, has ruled out elections this year, citing the notification of results of the new digital 2023 census and Section 17(2) of the Elections Act, which states: “The commission shall delimit constituencies after every census is officially published.”
But the PTI’s stance was that there was no need for delimitation at this time.
Meanwhile, Imran remains imprisoned at Attock jail and continues to face several cases.
An Islamabad trial court on August 5 sentenced Imran to three years of imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs100,000 on him while hearing the ECP’s criminal complaint against the PTI chief for concealing details of Toshakhana gifts. The court found him guilty of “corrupt practices by hiding the benefits he accrued from the national exchequer wilfully and intentionally”.
Imran was subsequently arrested by Punjab police from his Zaman Park residence in Lahore and moved to Attaock jail.
However, the Islamabad High Court suspended his sentence earlier this week.
But the PTI chief remains in jail in the cipher case, which pertains to a diplomatic document that reportedly went missing from Imran’s possession. The PTI alleges that it contained a threat from the United States to oust Imran from power. Proceedings against PTI Vice Chairman and former foreign minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi in the same case are also under way.