Pakistan polls: Imran Khan claims his party to spring ‘surprise’ on Feb 8

Islamabad: With just three weeks to go for the general elections in Pakistan, jailed former prime minister Imran Khan has said his party will spring a surprise on February 8 through its Plan C’, which, he said, is ready after the failure of its so-called Plan A’ and Plan B’.

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Founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaaf (PTI) party, Khan, 71, has been languishing in jail in connection with multiple cases. His party has been denied the cricket bat symbol that had become synonymous with the former international cricketer. Pakistan’s election commission has rejected his and his party leaders’ nomination papers.

Despite a protracted crackdown on his political party, a buoyant Khan made claims about the surprise Plan C’ while speaking to reporters at the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. The reporters had gathered to cover the proceedings of cases, including the cipher case, underway against him in prison on Tuesday, Dawn newspaper reported on Wednesday.

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Khan, however, did not elaborate on what he meant by Plan C.

But a day earlier, PTI chairman Gohar Ali Khan had said that “the said plan revolved around retaining the reserved seats of the party following the loss of their electoral symbol, bat’, Dawn said.

It said, Plan B’ was ostensibly a deal the PTI had signed with its splinter group, PTI-Nazriati’, to contest polls under the batsman’ symbol, which was thwarted by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP).

On Tuesday, Khan also demanded a live telecast of his jail trial “to let the nation understand what is happening in the court,” The News International newspaper reported.

The PTI founder said that the party leadership knew that conspirators would spoil their plans, therefore, they had worked out alternative strategies.

Khan claimed that a conspiracy was hatched against the PTI government, adding that about 10,000 workers of the party were put behind bars and efforts to dismantle the political party were also in full swing.

He said that as the founder of the PTI, whose political struggle spanned over 27 years, he was facing multiple charges along with his spouse Bushra Bibi.

Khan also talked about the cipher issue, saying former army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa offered him a two-thirds majority to keep quiet on the cipher issue and warned him of consequences if he tried to highlight the issue in public, the report said.

The former prime minister said that Gen Bajwa had made the offer during meetings held at the President’s House, provided he (Imran) would behave sensibly and would not underscore the cipher issue’.

Khan further claimed that his party was being targeted over May 9 violence and further alleged that the violent protests targeting the Corps Commander House and the GHQ of the Pakistan Army were a part of the London agreement.’ “Khan denied that the PTI was not behind this mess,” the Dawn report said.

Khan and hundreds of his party colleagues are being tried under multiple cases, including one under the stringent Official Secrets Act in connection with the May 9 violent protests by his supporters that damaged key military installations across Pakistan.

PTI workers vandalised a dozen military installations, including the Jinnah House (Lahore Corps Commander House), Mianwali Airbase, and the ISI building in Faisalabad. The Army headquarters (GHQ) in Rawalpindi was also attacked by the mob for the first time.


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