President Dr. Arif Alvi said on Thursday that the arrest of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan would be a mistake and lead to a strong public reaction.
After hearing rumours that the former prime minister would be detained, throngs of PTI workers descended on his home to defend him.
President Alvi told the media at governor’s house that the current predicament would get worse if Imran was detained and that it was best for Pakistan to avoid doing so since a strong public backlash would ensue. According to Alvi, Pakistan had never had success with the “minus-one formula.”
The president claimed that the PTI had not spoken to him about the detention of party leader Fawad Chaudhry and added that the appropriate authorities should be ashamed of the way Fawad was handcuffed.
President Alvi added that the current administration’s conversations over the past month and a half have not resulted in any advancement in the area of political cooperation.
He added that Imran Khan was open to talks but that there were “no negotiations at any level at this time.” Alvi insisted that the absence of dialogue was the government’s fault.
The president added that he had no dealings with the political establishment and that the army had stated it would refrain from meddling in political affairs.
Alvi emphasized that if not early elections, at least general elections might be discussed since Pakistan urgently needs its politicians to engage in conversation and fill in the gaps.
He added that it was obvious from Fawad’s and other PTI leaders’ statements that negotiations should take place.
Alvi stated that he didn’t think the current premier would lose a vote of confidence in the National Assembly in response to the potential no-confidence motion against Shehbaz Sharif.