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‘Prefer remaining in jail for nine more years’: Imran Khan rules out negotiations – Times of India

NEW DELHI: Ruling out any agreement, former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he is ready to endure additional nine years behind bars rather than engage in any negotiations with what he termed as the forces that have “enslaved” the nation.
In his message, Khan highlighted what he described as the imposition of the “worst dictatorship” on the country, warning of its detrimental effects on the economy, governance, democracy and the judiciary.
Having spent the past nine months in prison due to what he claimed are “fake and concocted cases,” Khan affirmed his readiness to continue serving time if necessary. “I will remain in jail if I have to for nine more years, or more, but I will never strike a deal with those who have enslaved my nation”, Khan said in a statement.
Since his ouster from power through a no-confidence motion in April 2022, the 71-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician has faced convictions in multiple cases, leading to his imprisonment at Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. Khan’s political party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has encountered challenges following his fall-out with the influential military, including arrests and defections, particularly after the unrest sparked by his arrest last year.
Khan’s statement follows remarks by PTI leader Shehryar Afridi, who asserted the party’s willingness to engage in dialogue excluding certain political factions. He dismissed the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz as a “rejected lot” and reiterated the PTI’s commitment to engaging with the army chief for Pakistan’s future.
Addressing speculation regarding alleged negotiations, PTI leader Barrister Gohar Ali Khan reaffirmed the party’s disinterest in and denial of any talks with external entities.
Independent candidates supported by the PTI secured over 90 seats in the National Assembly during the February 8 general elections. However, a post-election alliance formed by the PMN-L and the PPP sidelined the PTI, preventing it from forming a federal government.
(With agency inputs)

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