The Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q) are in talks to contest the next general elections on the same symbol, former prime minister Imran Khan has said.

In an interview with a news channel on Monday night, the PTI chairman said he has also recommended that the PML-Q merge with the PTI.

Calling the coalition politics “tough,” he said partners use the leverage to extract benefits from the government.

“That’s why we are trying to contest the election on one symbol.”

Imran claimed his party’s lawmakers were being pressurised to not vote for Chief Minister Parvez Elahi during the vote of confidence in the assembly.

“Mr X and Y have sent messages to our MPAs that Imran Khan has no future and they should switch sides or abstain from voting,” he claimed.

He said that he was still determined to dissolve Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies after the vote of confidence.

The ex-premier levelled accusations against the former army chief and said that he completely changed after getting extension in 2019.

Talking about the change in Gen Bajwa’s views, Imran claimed that the former COAS used to “give indication” that he was against opposition leaders and even called them corrupt.

“After that [extension] … he started saying to focus on the economy and forget accountability,” Imran said, adding that in his view, the ex-COAS didn’t think corruption was bad.

He also accused the retired general of hiring ex-ambassador to the US Husain Haqqani to campaign against him in Washington.

“A campaign was carried out that Imran Khan was anti-US and he [Gen Bajwa] was pro-US,” he said while accusing Mr Haqqani.

He added his government had no idea and the ex-ambassador was hired bypassing the foreign office in Aug 2021.

“The regime change conspiracy didn’t start with Donald Lu. It started with [Husain] Haqqani.”

On the results of the 2018 general elections where the PTI emerged as the majority party, Imran claimed his party had won more seats than the final tally showed.

“When I see it now, it becomes clear that Bajwa doctrine was to not allow anyone to strengthen so much that they can’t be controlled,” he said.

Talking about the current political situation, he claimed a “game” is still being played to stop him from coming back to power “by all means”.

“Even if you stop Imran Khan [from coming to power], how will you fix the issues faced by the country?” he asked.

Imran said the country will have no future unless the establishment decided to hold free and fair elections and back a government with the mandate of the people.

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