KARACHI: PTI has linked talks with political parties to the return of its seats “stolen” after the February 8 general elections and the quashing of cases against the party’s founder, Imran Khan.

While speaking in an interview with DawnNewsTV, PTI leader Omar Ayub called the three major parties — PPP, PML-N and MQM-P — “beneficiaries of Form 47”, Dawn.com reported.

“They should … return our stolen seats to us, quash Imran Khan’s cases and finish military trials of our people, and then talks can be held with them.”

Mr Khan said his party wanted constitutional supremacy, but the three parties came to power through “discrepancies in Form 47s which we reject”. He reiterated that the PTI would be willing to hold talks if its “stolen mandate” was returned.

Questioned about the party’s previous willingness to hold talks with the PPP and PML-N after the PTI government’s ouster compared to now, Mr Khan said the situation was different then as “theft [of electoral mandate] due to Form 47 [manipulation] had not happened as it has now”. The opposition leader also called for a judicial commission to investigate the election, adding that it would determine the establishment’s alleged role in the exercise.

The opposition leader also rebuffed PML-N Punjab President Rana Sanaullah’s offer of talks as “non-serious”, saying that no confidence-building measures were first taken to demonstrate sincerity for negotiations.

He also criticised PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari’s speech in the National Assem­bly, saying that it didn’t suit a “serious politician who calls himself a party chairman”. He predicted a further deterioration in the assembly’s affairs. “This is not a government but an unguided mob.”

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2024

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