Thursday May 03 2018

Imran alleges Nawaz had army’s help in 2013 elections


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has alleged that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif had the help of the army in the 2013 elections.

In an interview with Hamid Mir on Geo News programme Capital Talk, Khan said a brigadier had helped Nawaz in Punjab during the last general elections. The PTI chairman emphasized that he had given a lot of thought to the matter before leveling the allegation.

He claimed that Returning Officers in Punjab were pressured during 2013's General Elections. “The 2013 polls are called RO elections because the Pakistan army stopped candidates from going into the polling stations.”

Imran said that he had not alleged that the army chief was involved in the rigging of polls but maintained that the Pakistan army had played its part nonetheless.  

When asked about Nawaz’s statement: “Jalsa Lahore da, Majma Pishor da te agenda kisay hor da,” meaning Imran's rally was staged in Lahore but the crowd was brought from Peshawar on someone else’s agenda, the PTI chairman said it was Nawaz who was the 'ladla' (favoured) of the judiciary and army in the past.  

"Nawaz is unsettled now because both the army and judiciary are neutral," he said, adding that the incumbent army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, among his peers, was the most neutral and pro-democratic leaders of the armed forces. 

"Nawaz has a simple ideology, with me or against me, and since [Gen Bajwa] is not with him, he is against him." 

"These brothers have a brilliant partnership; they know how to play the good and bad cop game very well," said Imran. "While one brother speaks against [institutions], the other begs forgiveness later." 

He claimed that Nawaz's reality was exposed while he was under pressure. "The innocent, seemingly- oppressed Nawaz disappeared and an unusually different version of him surfaced while he was under pressure."

Imran claimed that the PML-N supremo had done everything that he was speaking against. He said that the same man who was raised in General Zia ul Haq's lap had suddenly become an advocate of democracy and revolutionary. 

"The media, judiciary, and armed forces had helped him. Nawaz was made a politician by Zia." 

"Nawaz always played matches with his own 1990, 1996 and 2013 [elections]," he said. "He has wronged the nation and had he not been protected, he would not have come so far." 

Pashtun Tahafuz Movement 

Imran said that he was willing to arbitrate between the Pakistan Army and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM). The PTI chief said that youth from tribal areas had reservations about not getting media coverage. He asserted that while some of the demands they had put forward were justified.

"Talks should be held with the aggrieved youth," said Imran. However, he criticized the anti-army slogans raised by members of the movement.

"They should not do propaganda against the army," he said.

In the interview, Imran said he was willing to arbitrate between the Pakistan Army and Pashtun Tahafuz Movement (PTM).

“PTM is speaking against the Pakistan Army but it does not realize that it was not the army but the man [Pervez Musharraf] who sent it after 250 people who was at fault. And more than half of the population was displaced as a consequence.”

“The tribal areas are in the second phase of rehabilitation and rebuilding. I am willing to talk to General Bajwa and address the reservations of the people but what happened is not the army’s fault.”

Army in Waziristan

Discussing former president Pervez Musharraf's decision to send the armed forces to Waziristan, Imran said that people were always afraid to call out against the decision. 

"I was called Taliban Khan when I spoke against the decision to conduct the military operation and sending our own army against our own people," he said. 

"It is a huge crime against to use your own forces on your own people," said Imran. "The reaction from the nation was harsh when on February 9, 2004, the army was sent to should have been. I too will become a terrorist if you kill my family."

"It would have been our war if money had not been accepted from the United States but Pakistanis were not involved in the September 11 attack. This war created problems in Pakistan."

“When the decision to send the army to Waziristan was made, this [reaction from the citizens] was expected. The army didn’t know who was working for Taliban and who wasn’t; it investigated people on the basis of suspicion.”

“It was a huge oppression against the citizens of tribal areas and hardly anyone could have survived but those people are strong, they fared those tough times.”

Imran further stressed on the need to decide if the nation wanted to be played by the enemy.

“Now is the time when we have to decide whether we want to be used by the enemy and turn against the Pakistan Army,” he said.

“The country will not survive if the army does not,” he reiterated.  

Media censorship

Responding to a question about Nawaz's allegations about media censorship in the country, the PTI chief said that it was Nawaz who did not care about freedom of press each time his party formed the government. 

"PTI wouldn’t have been created without free media," he said. "I struggled alone for thirteen years before the media helped my party. We got a boost from social media to rope in youth into our party." 

He said that doing traditional politics would not have allowed his party to rise to the level it stands on today. 

The PTI chief, however, stressed that the media shouldn't be pressured and the nation must be convinced by putting a point of view forward through arguments. 

Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan

Imran did not respond to a question about his last meeting with PML-N stalwart Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan. 

Responding to a question about his repeated offers to Nisar to join PTI, Imran said that a person has to make their own decisions.  

"What options does he [Nisar] have? He can bow down to Maryam, which other [PML-N leaders] have shamelessly done but Nisar has some sense of honour." 

"His other option is independent politics, which will not be beneficial for the country," said Imran. "PTI is his only choice if he wants to serve Pakistan."

"Should we assume that you have met Nisar," Mir asked, to which Imran said that he would respond to that question at a later time. 

"We know that it is uncharacteristic of Imran to conceal some things; it seems like he has already met Nisar," said Mir. 

In response to a question about the possibility that a simple majority would not be obtained by any party in the National Assembly elections, Imran stressed that a hung parliament would not serve the country well. 

He opined that contesting the upcoming elections as independent candidates would not strengthen democracy. 

"Candidates should stand with an ideology." 

According to Imran, there was a possibility of the elections being delayed in the country by 1-1.5months due to objections over delimitation of constituencies.

Article 62(1)(f)

In response to a question about fear of disqualification from holding public office through Article 62(1)(f), Imran said that he ‘prays’ that the ‘sword of Article 62(1)(f) falls on him.’

However, the PTI chief said that the Article should be slightly changed and should only be restricted to financial disclosure.

“People should be able to trust their elected representatives with their money,” he said.