Imran Khan says some of his party leaders in touch with establishment

ISLAMABAD, Apr 7: Pakistan’s jailed former prime minister Imran Khan has said that some of his party leaders are in contact with the powerful establishment, as he expressed willingness to hold a dialogue with anyone amidst the crackdown on his party.
Khan’s remarks came as he spoke to reporters after the hearing of the Al-Qadir Trust corruption case on Saturday, the Dawn newspaper said.
Khan, 71, said that he was ready to hold a dialogue with anyone for the sake of the country.
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder said if he could hold talks with former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa, who he later accused of being instrumental in the fall of his government in April 2022, then he could meet anyone since the country was passing through a difficult phase.
Khan said that a few leaders in the PTI “are still in contact with the establishment”, apparently for negotiations. However, he did not elaborate.
He also claimed that the mandate of the PTI had been stolen and “efforts were being made to take over the party”.
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 dese¬rtions in the wake of the May 9 viol¬ence that broke out after Khan’s arrest last year.
Since his removal from power in a no-confidence motion in April 2022, the cricketer-turned-politician has been convicted in at least four cases.
Khan said his spouse Bushra Bibi was being allegedly targeted to exert pre-ssure on him and added that those pointing fingers at her were doing so in a bid to ‘dismantle’ the party.
Khan said he had never entered into a confrontation with the military. He claimed that the ex-army chief ‘backstabbed’ him, adding he could have de-notified him but he exercised restraint.
Khan had turned on former Gen Bajwa around the time of his ouster and claimed that the latter was involved in a US-backed conspiracy to remove him from office.
Khan during the media talk on Saturday claimed that he had also conveyed a message to Chief of Army Staff Gen Asim Munir through former president Arif Alvi that he knew about the so-called ‘London Plan’ to keep him behind bars.
Khan alleged that police entered his bedroom on Aug 5 last year to detain him, and confiscated his passport and the chequebook, adding that Bushra Bibi had moved her valuables to a secure location. The ex-premier alleged that intelligence agencies had asked his staffers to turn ‘approver’ against him.
According to Khan, the country was facing a 1970s-like situation.
About the incumbent government, Khan claimed that the “king is sitting behind and [interior minister] Mohsin Naqvi is at the forefront as his viceroy”.
Khan claimed that Shehbaz Sharif had no authority.
Meanwhile, the accountability court continued recording of testimony of the witnesses, as five prosecution witnesses had been cross-examined by the defence counsel on Saturday. The case will resume after the Eid holidays.
The Ali-Qadir Trust case is about the settlement of 190 million pounds, about Rs 50 billion, which the UK’s National Crime Agency sent to Pakistan after recovering the amount from a Pakistani property tycoon.
Khan, being the prime minister then, instead of depositing in the national treasury, allowed the businessman to use the amount to partly settle a fine of about Rs 450 billion imposed by the Supreme Court some years ago.
Reportedly, the tycoon, in return, gifted about 57 acres of land to a trust set up by Khan and his wife to establish the Al-Qadir University in the Sohawa area of the Jhelum district of Punjab. (PTI)