Imran Khan, the embattled Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman, struck a conciliatory tone on Thursday, declaring that he was willing to “talk to anyone” and “make any sacrifice” for the country’s “uplift, interest, and democracy,” as Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif once more urged cooperation to address Pakistan’s problems, reported Dawn.
The two leaders’ comments came a day after PM Shehbaz offered the PTI leader an olive branch, emphasising that all political groups would need to come together for talks in order to resolve the nation’s continuing political and economic challenges.
Imran Khan, who is facing several legal matters, has been eluding arrest and is currently holed up in his Zaman Park home with thousands of supporters who have engaged in several days of “pitched battles” with the police and Rangers.
Imran Khan tweeted, “I will not refrain from any sacrifice for the sake of Pakistan’s uplift, interest and democracy. In this regard, I am willing to talk to anyone and take every step towards it.”
In a subsequent tweet, he said, “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the people of Pakistan who joined us in the struggle for true freedom and to our workers from all over Pakistan, including Lahore.”
In the meantime, PM Shehbaz urged political leaders to work together to address the nation’s problems, while speaking in the Senate at a session to commemorate its golden jubilee, according to Dawn.
The Prime Minister claimed in his speech that political stability was necessary for economic stability. He said that by seizing the reins amid challenging economic times, the coalition administration had sacrificed its politics for the nation’s benefit.
A staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was forthcoming, he informed the upper house of Parliament. He further accused the previous government of deliberately breaking its agreements with the money lender.
PM Shehbaz adds, “The fact of the matter is that when we took over, our economy was facing very difficult challenges. We had negotiated and signed the agreement with the IMF but did not adhere to it. We didn’t respect the terms and conditions and flouted them which damaged Pakistan’s image, trust and confidence.”
Although he emphasised that all parties needed to synchronise their objectives for a better Pakistan, the prime minister acknowledged that the nation was confronting significant political and economic challenges.
“Let’s make Pakistan’s future more promising,” said Sharif, adding that we should work hard rather than conspire, eliminate obstacles rather than raise them, and bring the country together instead of creating a divide.
The premier made this statement at a meeting with a team from the Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) at PM House. “All political forces will have to sit together to lead the country forward,” he remarked.
However, PM Shehbaz also bemoaned the fact that the PTI had declined two of his recent invitations to participate in negotiations. Though politicians frequently engage in discourse, he pointed out that PTI has a track record of not doing so.
He expressed remorse about the previous administration’s withdrawal from the IMF accord, noting that it was a state pact whose non-implementation had cost the nation significantly.
He stated his belief that an agreement at the staff level with the IMF will be reached soon.
“The government is not taking the action on its own, but it’s acting on the court orders,” he remarked in relation to the police action with regard to Imran Khan’s arrest warrants.
In the Toshakhana case, he asserted that Imran Khan, who identified himself as an “honest person,” was actually a liar who even sold a watch that included the image of the Holy Ka’aba, Dawn reported.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)