The former premier made these comments in response to inquiries about the mystery surrounding the talks with the ruling elite and the rumors that the leader of the PTI met with “four senior-most army generals” after winning the by-election on Sunday.
Although the PTI chairman was asked about the rumored meeting with the generals, he chose not to react. Instead, he commented on the discourse, saying, ” “Negotiations, what should I say… [t]hey are happening and not happening. Whatever little we have done over backchannels, there is no clarity as yet.”
Nevertheless, Imran Khan criticized Nawaz Sharif for this ambiguity during a press conference at his Banigala home. “I know why that clarity is not there, because Nawaz Sharif is afraid of elections. Unless he decides, elections will not take place. He is afraid that if all parties ganged up couldn’t defeat [me] if elections are held they will lose. He wants to drag this on, no matter if the country goes to the dogs, according to the former premier.
This is the first time Imran khan has specifically acknowledged discussions with the establishment; in previous contacts with the media, he only made passing references to them.
It appears that the PTI leader made the decision to make this backchannel conversation public in response to the PTI’s resounding victory in the by-elections held on Sunday. The PTI had dubbed these elections as a plebiscite against the “imported government,” and their victory had boosted their self esteem.
Imran Khan continued to poke fun at the PML-N leader by saying, “Mr. Sharif cannot contest the election while having neutral umpires. On the other hand, I am the one who has always supported neutral umpires. I assume that Nawaz Sharif will get a clean chit as his party has also received NRO [National Reconciliation Ordinance]. So, I am ready to contest the election against him as I have never played matches with weak teams…”
Imran Khan stated the new chief of army staff should be chosen based on merit when discussing the appointment, and he added that PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and PML-N leader Nawaz Sharif were unqualified to serve as the army chief due to ongoing corruption investigations.
He said there was no chance of talking to the government because “this is very hard to do as you can talk to Baloch and Sindhi nationalists, but not with criminals.”