Imran’s arrest will be tantamount to ‘playing with fire’: Alvi

President Alvi Kashmir

No contact with establishment for over a month

President Dr Arif Alvi believes that the government will be “playing with fire” if it resorts to arresting Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan –— as speculations are rife after PTI Senior Vice-President Fawad Chaudhry’s arrest.

In a conversation with journalists on Thursday, the president, in response to a question about Khan’s arrest by the incumbent government, said: “It will be tantamount to starting a fire [fuelling anarchy in the country].”

The president said that arresting the former primer minister or any senior politician would lead to “resistance”, hinting at insta bility if the government tries to detain its opponents.

The president also deplored the manner in which Fawad was presented in the Islamabad court and asked the officials to “have some shame” as they covered his head with a white sheet and also handcuffed him.

“Institutions shouldn’t need police to maintain their respect. If someone has an issue with me, then I will improve my performance instead of asking the police to take action,” he said.

Despite persistent agitation from the PTI since Khan’s ouster in April last year, the president reiterated that the former prime minister was “not against” table talks.

“If politicians do not want to sit and negotiate, then what can I do? Imran Khan is not against negotiations, however, there was no response from the government [when asked to sit on the table],” he said.

The president said that Khan was even ready to reconsider early polls as he wanted the government to begin negotiations.

As confusion surrounds the staging of elections in Pakistan’s biggest province, President Alvi said he spoke to Punjab Governor Baligh Ur Rehman about issuing a date for the polls.