Barrister Gohar Khan, a key leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), urged the release of the party's "political prisoners," including founder Imran Khan, in response to Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir's "healing touch" comment on general elections.
The army chief congratulated the nation on the conduct of the February 8 polls on Saturday, saying the nation needs steady hands and a healing touch to move on from the politics of disorder and divisiveness.
Gen Munir had stated that a unified government of all democratic forces imbued with national purpose would best represent Pakistan's different political and pluralistic landscapes.
According to the military's media wing, the COAS stated that the nation requires stable hands and a healing touch to move away from disorder and polarization, which are unsuitable for a progressive country of 250 million people. "Elections are not a zero-sum competition of winning and losing but an exercise to determine the mandate of the people."
Barrister Gohar responded to Gen Munir's remarks, saying that the "healing touch" implies there should be no political prisoners in the country.
The statement by the politician, who also defends Khan in his legal struggles, came during an interview with Arab News, laying the groundwork for the party's future maneuvers as its candidates lead in surveys.
"The [PTI] mandate must be respected. Without it, there can be no healing touch.
Gohar, in response to the COAS's "unified government" viewpoint, clarified that it does not necessarily indicate a coalition government.
"United government means that every party should be united in one thing, which is that you have to respect and regard people's mandate first," he added.
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 the PTI]."
In the interview, Barrister Gohar stated that 95 of the 102 independent candidates were supported by the PTI and remained its followers. The PTI would also challenge the results in "at least 50 seats" if it believes they have been distorted.
He said that his party is "near victory in Punjab" and has a "two-thirds majority in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa."
The politician stated that the nation has decided in favor of the PTI and speculated that the party's founder might be released in the coming days.
"I think we will go to the high court; these convictions [against Imran Khan] will be set aside, and he will be out soon," he added.