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LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has said the next elections would be rigged; “the people inducted in the interim set-up holds strong resentment against my party”. He expressed these views during a meeting with foreign media representatives here on Tuesday.

The former Prime Minister was critical of the caretaker government in Punjab, saying the officials involved in atrocities committed on the PTI workers on May 25 were being posted in Punjab; “our people were being prosecuted and arrested without a warrant”. “I have never seen such reprisals in the history of the country, but in the absence of rule of law the country could not move forward,” he added.

Khan believed that snap polls were the only way to bring the country out of the economic crisis; “hence, we sacrificed our governments in Punjab and KP so that the elections could be held immediately”. “However, the coalition government would only hold elections when they believe that the PTI cease to exist,” he added, adding it was clear in the Constitution that elections should be held within 90 days of the dissolution of assemblies.

He continued that he would not accept the ‘imported’ government’s fascism and would not allow it to undermine the Constitution; “instead of going on the path of anarchy, we would adopt a democratic way of showing resistance and remaining within the law”.

Defending his recent decision to launch the ‘jail bharo’ (volunteer arrest) movement, he said it was one way of staging a peaceful protest. “I have asked my party to prepare for the movement and soon I would announce a date for its launching,” he added.

He said the establishment was not a one-man show, adding that a new army chief brought his policy. However, he claimed that the policy of former army chief general Qamar Javed Bajwa was still continuing. “On the insistence of the former army chief (Bajwa), the services of former ambassador to the US Hussian Haqqani and others were hired; “these people were used to lobby against me in America”. He admitted that he committed a mistake by giving Bajwa an extension; “in fact, it was a mistake so big that it was a blunder”.

Talking about the present state of the economy, he blamed the coalition government for the economic meltdown and held it responsible for the devaluation of the rupee and escalation in the prices of petrol and other things.

He said they were also implementing the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme and Pakistan was still progressing despite this. “Since the coalition government came, the rupee lost its value by Rs90 against the dollar. The devaluation was impacting every sector and the subsequent inflation pushed the people against the wall. In our era, the Sensitive Price Index (SPI) has almost jumped to 40 percent from 16 percent while our foreign reserves have declined to around $3 billion from 16 billion dollars in nine months,” he added.

On the Toshakhana case, the PTI chief averred that the government had been trapped after the court asked for the details of Toshakhana; to date, it had not been provided.

He denied any contact with PML-N Quaid and former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, adding “he wants me to be disqualified”.

Talking about terrorism in the country, he believed that the current Taliban government was not against Pakistan; “however, we cannot afford terrorism in the country”. He added that if there was peace in Afghanistan, then Pakistan would also benefit from it. He continued that through a well-thought-out strategy, the PTI government had controlled terrorism; “when our government came in 2018, we played a role to initiate talks between the Taliban and America”.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2023

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