Friday Jul 29, 2022
Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan Friday said if the news of Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa contacting the United States officials for early dispersal of loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was true, “it means we [Pakistan] are getting weaker.”
The PTI chairman, in an interview with a private channel, said this was not the job of the army chief to deal with economic matters. He also questioned whether the US will demand anything in return if it decides to help Pakistan.
Earlier today, it was reported that COAS Gen Bajwa has appealed to the US to help Islamabad secure an early dispersal of $1.2 billion in funds under an IMF loan programme, Nikkei Asia reported.
The army chief reached out to the US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman over the phone earlier in the week — sources from both US and Pakistan revealed this to the publication's correspondent Wajahat S Khan on the condition of anonymity as they were not authorised to speak publicly.
Commenting on the development, the former prime minister said that neither the Washington-based lender trusts the government nor do other countries, “I think that’s why the army chief has taken the responsibility now.”
Reiterating his demand for early elections, Khan said that political stability can only be seen when fair and transparent elections are conducted. “Those sitting in power are afraid of the elections,” he said, recalling that when he was ousted from the office, he did nothing except for approaching the public.
“If they [coalition government] had announced early elections, today the country would have been saved from this disaster,” the PTI chairman said, citing the absence of a future roadmap by the coalition government as one of the reasons behind the economic crisis.
He went on to say that earlier, PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and vice-president Maryam Nawaz demanded snap polls and now “they are afraid”.
“At this moment, the most alarming thing is the lack of trust of the market, somebody has to be held accountable for the current situation,” he asserted.
Shedding light on his relations with the opposition members, Khan said: “I don’t have any personal grudges with anybody. I had healthy relations with Nawaz and [late] Benazir Bhutto; however, my problem is corruption as they come into power and make money for themselves.”
Khan, while replying to questions regarding Pakistani tycoon Arif Naqvi's alleged involvement in the PTI’s finances, said that he had known Naqvi for the last 20-25 years. “He [Naqvi] was benefitting the country as he was the talented human who could have benefitted the country with his rise.
“Naqvi used to give us hefty amounts for the cancer hospital; he also held two fundraising dinners for PTI in 2012, arranged a match in London, summoned top businessmen in Dubai — money is collected like this around the world.”
He maintained that his party is the first party that collected money through political fundraising, “we have a database of 40,000 donors. Approximately Rs9 billion are collected every year for the cancer hospital. PPP and PML-N do not even have a database.
Khan further added that no money was taken through hidden means, and all transactions were held via proper banking channels.
Terming Naqvi’s case a “big tragedy”, Khan said that the case is still pending. “Nobody lost anything everybody received their due shares; however, there is some irregularity. Back in 2012, there were no allegations against Naqvi as he was the bright star of Pakistan at that time,” he said, adding that all of this happened with “poor” Naqvi in 2019.
The PTI chairman, while berating the performance of the coalition government, said now that he sees their situation, he slightly feels “sorry” for them.
“Sometimes they target the judiciary, sometimes they say that they favoured Khan by bringing the no-confidence motion, while some say that the army has trapped them by mistrusting us,” he said.