Asif denies pressure on Imran

Minister dismisses PTI chairman’s claims of govt pressure for a deal

News Desk April 25, 2024
Defence Minister Khawaja Mohammad Asif addressing a session in National Assembly. PHOTO: FILE


Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has dismissed the assertions made by PTI Chairman Barrister Gohar Khan, alleging that incarcerated former prime minister Imran Khan was being pressured to accept a “deal”.

“There is no truth in claims of pressuring Imran Khan to come to the negotiating table,” the defence minister said in an interview published on Wednesday on Independent Urdu.

While speaking to reporters outside Rawalpindi's Adiala Jail on Tuesday, Barrister Gohar asserted that PTI had not been contacted for any negotiation, refuting rumours of ongoing secret discussions. If a genuine invitation were received, the party would publicly acknowledge it, he said.

He highlighted that the incarcerated PTI founder Imran Khan had also confirmed that he did not receive any message for dialogue.

Read also: Sharjeel accuses Imran of conspiring against country

However, Gohar also said: “Another thing we (PTI) are saying is that the way Khan sahib is being kept in jail, the way [Bushra] Bibi has been [jailed], these are all [forms of] pressure that Khan sahib somehow agrees to a deal.

“And these are all pressures that Khan sahib somehow breaks,” he claimed.

Rejecting Gohar’s statements, the defence minister maintained that the former ruling party was making such statements only to stay “relevant”.

“Reputable people from the PTI had given statements that there was no deal taking place nor was there any contact,” he said.

“Now, if such controversial statements would come from the PTI itself, what can we say about it?” he questioned.

When asked about relations between the PTI-led Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa government and the Centre, Asif said the federal government should not be the one to take the “initiative” of ruining the relations.

He recalled that the meeting between Premier Shehbaz Sharif and K-P Chief Minister Ali Amin Gandapur held in March, during which he was present, took place in a “very pleasant atmosphere”.

“We would like the province to maintain the same spirit,” Asif said, adding that the relations “should not deteriorate from our side”.

“If K-P gives an indication of spoiling relations, we will think about what we have to do, but there should be no initiative from our side.”

Regarding the potential implementation of a governor rule in K-P, Asif said, “Political forces should avoid such a situation. About this, I will not discuss what the options will be”.


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