Former Prime Minister Imran Khan expressed his willingness to engage in a dialogue with Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir “for the betterment of the country” during a conversation with journalists at his residence in Lahore on Friday. He emphasized that he had no issues with the establishment and discussed several topics, including politics, his relationship with the military, his disappointment with retired army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his decision to skip court hearings in Islamabad.
Imran’s remarks came after President Arif Alvi declared April 30 as the date for elections in Punjab, a demand that the PTI had been advocating for. In response to a question about why he was not communicating with the “establishment” (a term often used to refer to the military), he stated that he had never had a conflict with them, but it was Gen Bajwa who had betrayed him.
Imran claimed that, even after losing his government, he had spoken to Gen Bajwa for the country’s betterment. “But General Bajwa wanted to crush me,” he said. “But if anyone thinks I will bend the knee, that cannot happen.” He also criticized the retired general for “delivering a speech against Russia” and demanded he is “court-martialed for this speech”.
Imran stated that he was still willing to talk to the establishment “for the betterment of the country,” but if no one was willing to speak, there was little he could do. Imran Khan made new remarks alleging that the current army chief considers him an enemy and challenged him to prove any corruption charges against him and his wife. He also talked about Parvez Elahi, the former Punjab Chief Minister who recently joined PTI, and stated that the establishment didn’t understand politics and had tried to make Elahi leave his side. Khan emphasized that he could not betray anyone and would have to show loyalty to Elahi. These comments follow a series of criticisms of retired General Bajwa, with Khan previously calling for an internal military inquiry against him in a February 10 interview with Voice of America Urdu.
About alleged threats against his life, the former prime minister disclosed a video recording in possession of individuals overseas. He has previously mentioned the video, which purportedly contains the identities of those who have plotted against him, and stated that it would be released to the public if anything happened to him.
During the conversation, Imran explained why he travelled to Islamabad by road for court hearings. He revealed that he had received intelligence that plans were to arrest him at the airport and transport him to Balochistan. “Those who are supposed to protect me are putting me in danger,” he said.
Imran did acknowledge that going to jail could result in more votes for him.
Regarding the upcoming elections in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab, which come when the national treasury is rapidly depleting, Imran suggested that “if general elections were held all at once, money would be saved.” He claimed that despite the “umpires siding with the PDM,” the PTI would still emerge victorious in the polls.
When asked if he had decided on a candidate for the position of Punjab chief minister for the upcoming by-elections, Imran replied that if he were to announce the name right now, it would lead to “bloodshed.” He also claimed that even female candidates elected on reserved seats aspire to be the Punjab chief minister.
In a bold challenge to his political rivals, the former prime minister challenged anyone to prove a corruption charge against him and his wife. He also directed the army chief to locate corruption cases against him, accused retired army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa of betraying him, and called for his court-martial.
Khan also claimed that he is still in contact with Mohammed bin Salman and has recorded a video message regarding threats to his life, which is kept in a foreign country.
When asked about his decision to travel to Islamabad by road instead of by air, Khan revealed that he received information that he would be arrested at the airport and taken to Balochistan. He further claimed that his arrest would only increase PTI’s vote bank.
Regarding the Punjab chief minister’s position, Khan revealed that even female lawmakers are interested in becoming CM and accused rivals of pressurizing Pervaiz Elahi to break ties with the PTI. He emphasized the importance of loyalty and pledged to remain loyal to Elahi.
Khan also expressed his opinion that holding general elections at once would save resources and asserted that despite the presence of PDM umpires, PTI would win the elections with the support of overseas Pakistanis.
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