Ready for minus-Imran formula in country’s interest: PTI chairman

1684598976 Ready for minus Imran formula in countrys interest PTI chairman
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan gives an interview at his Zaman Park residence on May 18, 2023. — AFP
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan gives an interview at his Zaman Park residence on May 18, 2023. — AFP

During criticism over recent riots and the crackdown on the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), Imran Khan, the party’s chairman, expressed his willingness to accept a “minus-Imran” formula if it would benefit or save the country from destruction. Addressing his supporters, Khan requested that they propose how this strategy would benefit Pakistan before removing him from the equation.

He claimed that recent countrywide riots, in which military installations such as the Lahore Corps Commander House and General Headquarters (GHQ) entrance were attacked by his supporters after his May 9 arrest, had been orchestrated under a well-planned conspiracy to destroy the PTI. He further alleged that the ruling coalition could not win the general elections and therefore conspired against his party.

Regarding the riots, the former prime minister questioned why the Radio Pakistan office in Peshawar had been burned when the PTI’s protest was being carried out elsewhere. He also raised questions about who had incited individuals to vandalize the Lahore Corps Commander House and alleged that the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led government did not want the general elections held until after the PTI had been destroyed.

Khan asked, “Will our economy improve, and inflation disappear by October,” referring to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s earlier statement on holding the elections in October. He criticised the government for destroying the country to destroy one political party, claiming that the government had crushed institutions, disobeyed court orders, and invaded homes.

Following the violent protests, which caused extensive damage to public property and resulted in at least eight deaths and several injuries, the military decided to try protesters who attacked military installations under the Pakistan Army Act and Official Secrets Act. The National Security Committee supported the decision. However, Khan repeatedly denied the PTI’s involvement in the violence and any responsibility for it.