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Ready to serve nine more years in prison rather than striking deal with people enslaving Pakistan: Imran Khan

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Lahore, Apr 27 (PTI) Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan has ruled out an agreement with those who have “enslaved” the country, saying he is ready to serve for nine more years in prison but will never strike a deal with them.

In a message released on Friday for the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party’s 28th Foundation Day, Khan said that the “worst dictatorship” was imposed on the country which was becoming the basis for the “destruction” of the economy, government rule, democracy and judiciary”.

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He called on every individual to play their role in stopping this descent towards the country’s ruin.

“It is my message for the nation that I will give any sacrifice required for actual freedom but will never compromise on my or my nation’s freedom.”

Khan said he was kept behind bars for the past nine months due to “fake [and] concocted cases”.

“I will remain in jail if I have to for nine more years, or more, but I will never strike a deal with those who have enslaved my nation.”

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Since his removal from power in a no-confidence motion in April 2022, the 71-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician has been convicted in at least four cases. Khan has been lodged at Adiala Jail at Rawalpindi after conviction in multiple cases.

Since falling out with the powerful military, Khan’s party has been facing a crackdown. The party faced pressure in the form of arrests and dese­rtions in the wake of the May 9 viol­ence that broke out after Khan’s arrest last year.

Khan’s message came shortly after PTI leader Shehryar Afridi claimed that the party would have talks but not with the Bilwal Bhutto-Zardai-led Pakistan Peoples Party or the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz after their recent overtures.

“We will talk with the Army chief, the DG I[SI] and the army because the need of the hour is to [prioritise] the country’s security,” Afridi said.

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Terming the two parties a “rejected lot”, Afridi reiterated that the party would talk with the army chief for Pakistan’s freedom and future because the country “needs” Khan.

He said the two parties only had one option to abandon their mandate and then the PTI would decide whether to move forward with them or not.

Afridi claimed that it was Khan’s wish “since the first day for us to engage [with the military leadership] but there was no response forthcoming”.

He said if any “response” had come then it would have been brought before the public.

Earlier this week, PTI leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan had claimed that Khan was being pressured to accept a “deal”.

Rejecting speculation about secret talks with the establishment, Barrister Gohar had made it clear that the party was neither interested in nor holding talks with anyone.

Independent candidates backed by Khan’s PTI won more than 90 seats in the National Assembly in the February 8 general election. However, the PMN-L led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and the PPP formed a post-poll alliance and sidelined the jailed former prime minister’s party from forming a federal government which assumed power last month. PTI NSA AKJ

 

 

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