ISLAMABAD: After his party faced pressure in the form of arrests and dese­rtions in the wake of the May 9 viol­ence, former prime minister Imran Khan on Saturday revealed that some PTI leaders were still in contact with the establishment.

Speaking to reporters at Adiala Jail after the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust case, Mr Khan implied he was ready to hold a dialogue with anyone for the sake of the country.

The PTI founder said if he could hold talks with former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, who he later accused of being instrumental in the fall of the PTI government in April 2022, then he could meet anyone, since the country was passing through a difficult phase.

Mr Khan said that a few leaders in the PTI “are still in contact with the establishment”, apparently for negotiations. However, he did not elaborate.

Former PM says will talk to anyone for Pakistan; claims efforts on to ‘dismantle’ PTI

He claimed that the mandate of the PTI had been stolen and “efforts were being made to take over the party”.

Mr Khan said his spouse Bushra Bibi was being allegedly targeted to exert pre­ssure on him and added that those pointing fingers at her were doing so in a bid to ‘dismantle’ the party.

Mr Khan said he had never entered into a confrontation with the military and alluded to his ties with the ex-COAS, despite his government’s ouster. He claimed that the ex-army chief ‘backstabbed’ him, adding he could have de-notified him but he exercised restraint.

Mr Khan had turned on former Gen Bajwa around the time of his ouster, and claimed that the latter was involved in a US-backed conspiracy to remove him from office.

In his media talk on Saturday, the former PM claimed that he had also relayed a message to Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir through former president Arif Alvi that he knew about the so-called ‘London Plan’.

Imran Khan alleged that police entered his bedroom on Aug 5 last year to detain him, and confiscated his passport and the cheque book, adding that Bushra Bibi had moved her valuables to a secure location. The ex-PM alleged that intelligence agencies had asked his staffers to turn ‘approver’ against him.

According to the ex-premier, the country was facing a 1970s-like situation.

About the incumbent government, Mr Khan claimed that the “king is sitting behind and [interior minister] Mohsin Naqvi is at the forefront as his viceroy”. Mr Khan claimed that Shehbaz Sharif had no authority.

Meanwhile, the accountability court continued recording of testimony of the witnesses, as five prosecution witnesses had been cross-examined by the defence counsel on Saturday. The case will resume after Eid holidays.

Published in Dawn, April 7th, 2024

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