Imran rules out U-turn on resignations

PTI chief says there are some 'individuals in institutions' who have 'opinions on certain issues'


Hasnaat Malik May 31, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing a news conference in Peshawar on Saturday, May 28. SCREENGRAB

PESHAWAR:

PTI chairman and former premier Imran Khan on Tuesday ruled out the possibility of his party’s lawmakers withdrawing their resignations from the National Assembly amid reports that Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi has asked it to reconsider its decision of quitting en masse.

“The PTI will not return to parliament,” he maintained during his interaction with digital media representatives in Peshawar.

He also termed the NA speaker’s summons to his party’s lawmakers to verify their resignation letters as a “major trap”.

Imran said his party would approach the Supreme Court for its right to protest. “Our strategy for the next long march would be dependent on the SC's decision on the petition which would be filled tomorrow [Wednesday] by our legal team.”

Read Speaker summons 131 PTI MNAs to verify resignations

The PTI chairman also rejected the alleged audio clip of property tycoon Malik Riaz wherein he was conveying Imran’s message to PPP chief Asif Ali Zardari for a deal ahead of the no-confidence motion against him.

Speaking about the appointment of the army chief, Imran said neither did he know about the candidates, nor did he think about the procedure.

He claimed there were “individuals within institutions” who had “opinions on certain issues”.

However, he did not name the “individuals”.

It was observed that his approach towards the security establishment during the interaction remained cautious. “Only the army and PTI can keep Pakistan intact,” he added.

The ex-PM maintained that his government was pressured to recognise Israel – a message was sent that ‘think about your country’.

“I can’t disclose who that message came from,” the PTI chief said adding that a US lobby sought recognition for Israel from all Muslim countries.

The former prime minister, who alleges an American conspiracy behind his removal from the office, said the incumbent government wanted to “recognise Israel and build good ties with India” at the behest of the US.

Separately, in an interview with Sky News, the former premier insisted that he was not aware that Russia was going to invade Ukraine on the same day he had met President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

Imran has been heavily criticised for having face-to-face talks with the Russian president and shaking hands with him just hours after the war in Ukraine began on 24 February.

On a video link from Peshawar, the PTI chairman, who arrived in Russia on 23 February for a two-day visit, said: "How the hell was I supposed to know that the day I landed in Moscow that Putin was going into Ukraine?”

He added that he never believed in military solutions, and he held a bilateral meeting with Putin, claiming that it was planned long before. “We didn't realise that when I would reach there Putin would go into Ukraine. How was I supposed to know and how can you be punished for that?"

The ousted premier maintained that he was against military solutions in Ukraine and the purpose of his visit to the Kremlin was to discuss bilateral agreements.

He was also questioned about his government's close ties with China and Russia, with Imran stating that he was elected to serve the people of Pakistan. "There are 50 million people in Pakistan below the poverty line. I was not elected for them to correct all the wrongs that are going on in the world."

He added that his responsibility was to his country and so all his relationships, whether it was with China, the US or Russia, were for the benefit of his own people.

Imran also accused India of violating the United Nations resolutions in Kashmir, saying New Delhi has "illegally taken away the right of the Kashmiri people".

"Did anyone speak against it? There are atrocities going on in Kashmir, 100,000 people in Kashmir have died. Has anyone condemned India for that? No because India is an ally, allow us to be neutral too so we can look after our people."

Pakistan shares a large border with Afghanistan and Imran was asked about the Taliban takeover of the country last year. He replied: "There was never going to be a military solution in Afghanistan.”

He added that he was not responsible or a spokesperson for the Taliban. “If there was any other solution after 20 years of war, you should have found one," he said, adding that Pakistan had never supported the Taliban. "Pakistan is the collateral damage of Afghanistan."

In April, the former prime minister lost a no-confidence vote after opposition parties brought a motion against him, blaming Imran for failing to revive the economy and tackle corruption.

(With input from our News Desk)

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