• Says ready to face inquiry into 2014 dharna
• Alvi says those having ‘real power’ should initiate dialogue

ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday refused to apologise for the May 9 riots and said he is ready to face inquiry into the sit-in that his PTI staged in 2014.

He was speaking to the media after the court proceedings in the £190 million corruption case at Adiala jail. When asked whether he would apologise for the May 9 violent protest, Mr Khan replied in the negative, saying he was under detention at the time and was unaware of those protests.

The ex-premier mentioned that he became aware of the protests when he appeared before the then-chief justice of Pakistan, Umar Ata Bandial.

“I had already condemned those violent protests,” he added.

It may be mentioned that a day earlier, the director general of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) ruled out dialogue with PTI unless the party leadership tendered a public apology over the May 9 protests.

Mr Khan further said that if the establishment is not interested in dialogue, PTI will not pursue it either.

According to the former premier, he wanted dialogue for the sake of Pakistan, not to strike a deal for personal favours.

However, he clarified that he has no issue with the army as his close relatives are serving in the armed forces and bureaucracy.

Mr Khan expressed readiness to face inquiry into the 2014 sit-in and stated that he would gladly appear before the inquiry committee.

He further said that the allegations levelled against him in connection with the 2014 sit-in had proved to be wrong.

Mr Khan stated that the sit-in was staged to protest the 2013 elections, adding that the 2024 elections are also fraudulent, as the former caretaker prime minister has also disclosed information about Form-47.

He claimed that some PML-N leaders had privately conveyed to PTI that elections would not be held until Justice Qazi Faez Isa became the chief justice.

During the court proceedings, accountability judge Nasir Javed Rana recorded the statement of a witness, while the counsel for Mr Khan and Bushra Bibi cross-examined another witness.

The court accepted Mr Khan’s application for his medical check-up and adjourned the proceedings till May 13.

Impartial inquiry

In Lahore, former president Dr Arif Alvi while speaking to the media outside the Punjab Assembly emphasised the need for an impartial investigation into the events of May 9 and urged that the perpetrators be brought to justice.

He said, “The oppressor should seek forgiveness. Forgiveness is the only answer to all disputes.”

He said those who did not know the meaning of democracy were preaching democracy.

He said the evidence, if any, of the May 9 riots should be presented before courts.

“When I was president, [Imran] Khan sahib called for a dialogue,” he added.

He mentioned that Mr Khan always voiced for a peaceful protest and resolution of all disputes through dialogue.

In an obvious reference to the establishment, Dr Alvi said those having real power should initiate the dialogue process.

He said the present government was artificial and completion of its tenure was unlikely.

The former president said he visited the assembly to meet the opposition members. He said it was unfortunate how the parliament was filled with those who won the elections with the help of Form-47.

He said that judges should be appointed purely on merit and the freedom of media was critical for the democracy in the country.

“We are Pakistani and all institutions including the army belong to us,” he said.

Wajih Ahmad Sheikh in Lahore also contributed to this report

Published in Dawn, May 9th, 2024



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