PTI Leader Demands Release of Political Prisoners, Calls for Respect of Mandate

Barrister Gohar Khan, a top leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), has called for the release of the party’s “political prisoners,” including its founder, Imran Khan. This demand comes in response to the “healing touch” statement made by Chief of the Army Staff General Asim Munir on the general elections.

General Munir, while congratulating the nation on the conduct of the February 8 polls, emphasized the need for stable hands and a healing touch to move away from the politics of anarchy and polarization. He asserted that Pakistan’s diverse polity and pluralism would be well-represented by a unified government of all democratic forces with a national purpose.

Barrister Gohar, interpreting the “healing touch” statement, said it implies there should be no political prisoners in the country. He made this comment during an interview with Arab News, setting the tone for PTI’s future moves as its candidates lead in the polls.

The PTI leader, who also represents Khan in his legal battles, insisted that the PTI mandate must be respected for there to be a healing touch. He clarified that a “unified government” does not necessarily mean a coalition government but rather a government where every party respects and regards the people’s mandate.

Gohar, who won the general elections from the NA-10 constituency, stated, “The people have spoken (through the vote) and for the first time they have spoken in a very tough situation (amid a crackdown against PTI).” He revealed that 95 out of the 102 total independent candidates were backed by PTI and remained its loyalists. The party also plans to contest the results in “at least 50 seats” where it believes the results have been manipulated.

The lawyer-cum-politician expressed confidence about PTI’s near victory in Punjab and a two-thirds majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said, “We are actually close to the final figure in the Centre. We would be hopefully forming the government in the Center, as well as Punjab and the KP.”

Like several other politicians, Gohar also expressed concern about the delay in the release of results by the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), even two days after the end of the polling process. He warned, "We are giving time to the Election Commission to announce all the results by 12 (am) tonight (Sunday).”

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