No authentic info about Nawaz-Bajwa meeting, accepts Zubair

Former PML-N leader says his comments were "speculative" and were not facts that could be stated on oath

Ansar Abbasi
June 25, 2024
Former Sindh governor Mohammad Zubair speaks to journalists at Karachi Press Club on August 03, 2022. — PPI

ISLAMABAD: Former Sindh governor and ex-Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohammad Zubair has backed tracked from his earlier claim and has said that he has no authentic information about the alleged meeting between Nawaz Sharif and former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Speaking to The News on Monday, the former spokesperson for the ex-PM and his daughter Maryam Nawaz clarified that his comments regarding the said meeting were in fact speculative and were not facts that he could say under oath.

He explained that he was responding to a speculative question by sharing the rumours circulating at the time.

Zubair emphasised that he also mentioned during the talk show that he could not confirm the speculated Nawaz-Bajwa meeting. However, he insisted that Imran Khan's government was voted out in April 2022 with the support of the then military establishment.

Meanwhile, government sources claim that Gen Bajwa, during his six-year term as army chief, had visited the UK four times. The speculation was that the Nawaz-Bajwa meeting had taken place in London a few months before April 2022, when Khan’s government was removed through a vote of no confidence.

However, Bajwa's last visit to London before April 2022 was in June 2019, more than two and a half years earlier.

Official sources provided details of Gen Bajwa's visits to the UK: from April 2 to April 7 in 2017; October 10 to October 14 in 2018; June 20 to June 15 in 2019; and August 10 to August 14 in 2022. Bajwa's last visit to the UK as army chief was four months after the removal of Khan's government.

The speculated meeting between Nawaz and Gen Bajwa was rumoured to have taken place in London in early 2022. However, records do not show Bajwa visiting London during that period. An online search of newspaper reports also indicates no UK visit by Bajwa except for the dates mentioned above.

Nawaz had left for London in November 2019 for treatment after being released on bail from a seven-year sentence for corruption. Khan's government had allowed Sharif to proceed to London for treatment after he was diagnosed with an immune system disorder. Later, Khan alleged that Nawaz left the country based on fake medical reports to avoid accountability.

Khan and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) have frequently mentioned the London Plan, alleging that it was prepared in collaboration with the then-establishment and Nawaz in London to oust the Khan government in April 2022.

Zubair’s latest statement on a TV talk show was highlighted by the PTI and its social media as it endorsed the stance. The PML-N, however, denied Zubair’s statement, asserting that Nawaz and Bajwa had never met after Nawaz's government was removed in 2017.