Imran Khan ended Azadi march abruptly after talking to these 3 persons: Report

A Dawn report citing sources claimed the Pakistan military had to open communication channels with Imran Khan as the situation was getting out of control because of his Azadi march.
A report claimed Imran Khan was approached by several channels to withdraw his Azadi march. (AFP)
A report claimed Imran Khan was approached by several channels to withdraw his Azadi march. (AFP)
Published on May 28, 2022 05:04 PM IST
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By | Written by Poulomi Ghosh

Former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan who was determined to carry on with his protest until the government announces a fresh election on May 26 ended the Azadi march which reached Islamabad leaving trails of violence and destruction in Punjab, Karachi and Lahore. Addressing his supporters, Imran Khan announced an end to the march and gave a six-day deadline to the government to announce the election. As a reason for withdrawing the protest, Imran Khan said the government was using the march to create differences between the public and the police. However, insiders told Pakistani newspaper Dawn that the end was abrupt and there were people who pulled the strings at the behest of the military. Also Read: Imran Khan's ‘Azadi March’ in Lahore turns violent as cops fire tear gas | Top updates

It was a challenge to open "communication channels" with Imran Khan, especially, after his ouster from the PM post, but a "sense of urgency was felt everywhere" and multiple channels were employed to negotiate with Imran Khan, the Dawn report claimed.

Watch: Imran Khan storms out of presser, his fans & critics fight on Twitter

A former chief justice, a leading businessman and a retired general were the three persons who acted as a go-between, the report said. Imran Khan was also asked to consider the return of his party members to the National Assembly by withdrawing the resignation of his party's legislators in those negotiations, the report added.

"I had decided that I will sit here until the government dissolves assemblies and announces elections, but of what I have seen in the past 24 hours, they (govt) are taking the nation towards anarchy," Imran Khan said as he announced the end of the Azadi march. The Dawn report said Imran Khan actually agreed to go back without staging the planned sit-in, on the assurance that the date for the dissolution of the assemblies and fresh general elections would be announced in June.

“There is a strong possibility of positive interference by the military to prevent chaos and seek a return of semblance of political stability so that the process for resuscitating the economy could begin,” Former National Security Adviser retired Lt Gen Naeem Khalid Lodhi told Dawn.

Imran Khan, however, dismissed speculations of any deal with the establishment. "Rumours & delib disinfo that a deal has been done. Absolutely not! We are moving towards Islamabad & no question of any deal. We will remain in Islamabad till announcement of dates for dissolution of assemblies & elections are given. Calling all ppl of Islamabad & Pindi to join," Imran Khan had tweeted during the march before reaching Islamabad. The Dawn report said the discussions might have continued late into Wednesday (May 25) night and probably into the early hours of Thursday.

 

Pakistan was on the boil as PTI supporters clashed with police at several places before the march reached Islamabad. The federal capital was sealed off and the army was brought in as a preemptive measure. Cases against many PTI leaders, including Imran Khan, were registered for the chaos and destruction.

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