PTI changes its mind on parleys with govt

Published June 12, 2024
PTI MNA Gohar Ali Khan speaks to media outside Adiala Jail on June 11. — DawnNewsTV
PTI MNA Gohar Ali Khan speaks to media outside Adiala Jail on June 11. — DawnNewsTV

• Gohar says Imran has given go-ahead for dialogue, insists it’s ‘not a sign of weakness’
• Says allies to be taken on board, but party can fly solo as well
• PTI releases purported audio from Imran’s SC appearance

ISLAMABAD: In an apparent U-turn from its earlier assertions that the former ruling party would only talk to ‘empowered’ stakeholders and not the ‘toothless ruling’ coalition, PTI founder Imran Khan on Tuesday ordered the party’s top brass to reach out to the government for a dialogue to end the political impasse.

The change of heart came in light of remarks by the Sup­reme Court during a hearing of the NAB amendments case, in which the bench observed that the PTI should initiate talks with the government and resolve its issues in parliament through dialogue.

Speaking to journalists outside Adiala Jail where Imran Khan is incarcerated, PTI leader Gohar Ali Khan said the former prime minister has given the go-ahead for the talks with the government. He said the party would initially take its allies into confidence but could also take a solo flight on the issue.

It may be noted that a delegation of PTI leaders meets the incarcerated chief every Tuesday to seek guidelines for the future after sharing the ongoing political developments with him. The PTI leader claimed that the delegation requested Imran Khan that the political party should start negotiations as the “differences were increasing”; at this, Mr Khan agreed and greenlit the talks.

He said that the suggestion given by the apex court was also under consideration but it was PTI’s own decision to hold a dialogue. Replying to a question, he said that Imran Khan has not written any letter to the Supreme Court of Pakistan for negotiations but may respond to the court’s offer for negotiations.

He made it clear that in the first phase, the PTI would take the allies, including Pashtoonkhwa Milli Awami Party (PkMAP) Mahmood Khan Achakzai into confidence. It may be noted Mr Achakzai is leading the multi-party coalition alliance for the supremacy of the Constitution of which the PTI is a part.

Mr Gohar said the talks with the government could be initiated through the opposition platform or by the PTI on its own, adding that the PTI had reached the conclusion that talks were the only option available to the party.

In response to a question, Gohar Ali Khan on Tuesday said that PTI had never “refused” to talk to anyone and added that the “ice was melting”. However, he made it clear that the negotiations should not be considered as a deal or weakness of the party.

He also claimed that Imran Khan was willing to hold a dialogue with the political parties and “rea­dy to forgive all that happened to him in the best interest of the country”.

India policy

Meanwhile, reacting to the Sharif brothers’ congratulatory messages to Narendra Modi on his election as the PM, the PTI said any unilateral change in Pakistan’s policy towards India was “disastrous and unacceptable to the nation”.

PTI releases ‘Imran’s audio’

Also on Wednesday, the PTI released what it claimed was an audio clip of party founder Imran Khan’s video link appearance before the Supreme Court in a June 6 hearing on changes to the country’s graft laws.

It could not be independently verified if the audio was indeed from the day’s proceedings, or whether it had been altered.

However, the contents of the audio did correspond with what was reported of the proceedings of the June 6 hearing, with Imran Khan’s voice talking about the appointment of the NAB chairman and a “third umpire”.

The audio did not identify the judges speaking, but someone could be heard asking the PTI founder why his party did not oppose the bill in parliament.

Published in Dawn, June 12th, 2024

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