Imran only wants talks with the empowered, says Alvi

Published May 29, 2024
Dr Arif Alvi visits a PTI protest camp at Karachi Press Club, on Tuesday.—Shakil Adil / White Star
Dr Arif Alvi visits a PTI protest camp at Karachi Press Club, on Tuesday.—Shakil Adil / White Star

• Ex-president says ‘Form 47’ govt has nothing to offer, stresses need to ‘act quickly’
• Gohar claims tweet about 1971 was ‘political’, no criticism of military intended

KARACHI: In yet another overture to the powers that be from the embattled party, PTI leader Arif Alvi said on Tuesday that Imran Khan is willing to talk, but only to quarters “who could offer something”, as dialogue with those who had come into power through ‘Form 47s’ would be a fruitless exercise.

In a quick interaction with reporters during an appearance at a PTI protest camp outside the Karachi Press Club, the former president also downplayed comparisons of the current political situation with the events preceding the fall of Dhaka, saying that “it’s never about the whole institution but a few individuals”.

In the same breath, however, he stressed the need to move quickly, saying that the prevailing situation was “pushing everyone towards a dead-end”, which could encourage someone to take the wrong decision that could set off a powder keg.

While being critical of the military’s role in politics, he said that it was the only sta­k­e­holder with whom meaningful dialogue was possible.

“We never invited the military to intervene in politics,” he said in response to a question. “But Imran Khan wants to talk to those who have the power to decide. Do you feel that those who have come to power through Form 47s have anything to offer? Holding talks with them would be fruitless.

“Those who want to unite and struggle for the restoration and supremacy of the Consti­tution should do that. But talks should only be held with those who can offer something and bring something credible to the table,” Dr Alvi said.

When asked if such an exe­r­cise would further wea­k­en the “broken political system”, he said all this was being done in an effort “to fix the same broken political system”.

Earlier, while speaking to protesting party workers, he said: “For the last two years, Imran Khan has been calling for talks because he believes that dialogue should be held. But [on such proposals] we are insulted.

“If you don’t want to talk due to your ego and anger, it’s your choice. It was Imran Khan who sacrificed his ego and always called for dialogue. But if these talks aren’t held, it would further push everyone to a dead end.”

Clarifying what Imran Khan wanted to convey through his recent post on social media platform X about the fall of Dhaka, Dr Alvi said: “Imran Khan has just highlighted things and talked about individuals and not institutions. He gave an example that whatever had happened in 1971 or what damage was caused by General Yahya, we as a nation should learn from that part of our history.”

He said that successive governments had tried their best to cover the “mistakes” of the past, and went on to say that Imran Khan was one of the most loyal leaders in history, who had “kept national secrets” and “covered mistakes” despite facing charges as serious as treason.

“The civilians always cover the mistakes of the nation,” he said. “It was civilian prime minister [Zulfikar Ali] Bhutto who stopped the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report from going public, so that the mistakes made aren’t exposed. Now you are calling another PM a traitor? Filing a case of treason over the cipher [issue]?”

“Whatever mistakes are made, civilians take the blame. Imran Khan is the man who has kept a veil on so many national secrets. Yet, he’s facing cases of treason,” the former president regretted.

He also warned that the economy would never become stable and people would prefer to invest outside the country if political instability prevailed, adding that only popular support could bring stability on both, the political and economic fronts.

1971 parallel ‘a political one’: Separately, PTI leader and MNA Barrister Gohar Ali Khan distanced Imran Khan from the controversial social media post about the 1971 civil war and the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report, saying that the post was not aimed towards the military and should be seen in a “political context”, Dawn.com reported.

In a post on social media platform X dated May 26, Imran’s account — which is managed by his social media team since he is incarcerated in Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail — shared a video along with a quote attributed to him: “Every Pakistani should read the Hamoodur Rahman Commission Report and get to know who was the true traitor, General Yahya Khan or Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.”

“The context and comparison that we drew with 1971 was in a political context and not otherwise — nothing about the army,” Barrister Gohar said in an interview with a digital news outlet, published on Tuesday.

“It was just our [meaning about the] political context,” Barrister Gohar said, adding that a party’s mandate and majority were changed in 1971, similar to the PTI’s allegations about the current election result and government.

He said Imran was in prison and “does not approve each and every video or context”.

Published in Dawn, May 29th, 2024

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