Sunday Sep 11, 2022
Defense Minister Khawaja Asif on Sunday said that the general elections will not be held as per the demands of PTI Chairman Imran Khan but the country will go to polls at its designated time in 2023.
Speaking to Geo News, the defence minister maintained that Khan's strategy was all about "destroying the establishment", adding that since the no-confidence motion to oust him from power has become successful, he "wants the establishment to support him".
Asif went on to say that the general elections in the country will not be held as per Khan's demands but at the scheduled time, i.e. in 2023.
Speaking about the matter of Khan's arrest, the defence minister said that it was a legal matter, therefore, all cases should be conducted in accordance with the law.
The minister also said that today, the entire world, as well as the Pakistani judiciary, is acknowledging that Nawaz Sharif was subjected to "unjust treatment."
Last Sunday, Khan — while addressing his party's supporters in Faisalabad — slammed the coalition government for stalling the elections, saying that the delay was being done to "appoint an army chief of their own choice."
Khan further said that the government had only come to power to "end corruption cases against itself", adding that only free and fair elections can ensure political stability in Pakistan.
Khan's comment had drawn the ire of the government as well as the military while also receiving criticism from the judiciary. A day after he issued his remarks, the Pakistani Army expressed displeasure over Khan's statement against the military and said it was "aghast" over it.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), in a statement, said that "regrettably, an attempt was made to discredit and undermine the senior leadership of the army at a time when the institution was laying lives for the "security and safety of the people every day".
On the other hand, the ruling coalition had castigated the PTI chairman for his remarks at the Faisalabad jalsa.
In a joint statement, the ruling coalition condemned Khan's public meeting for spreading hatred against the Pakistan Army and its leadership and making "sensitive professional matters" controversial.
The entire nation is battling floods, while the PTI chairman is consumed by a thirst for revenge and his pride, the statement said, noting that despite the cataclysmic floods, Khan is targetting the armed forces.
The ruling partners said that the serious allegations being levelled against the military are for three reasons: to disturb the country's economy, to move Pakistan's economy to a path that it becomes like that of Sri Lanka, and foster enmity between the nation and the armed forces.
"With the power of the Constitution and law, we will thwart this nefarious conspiracy and deal with the conspirators in line with the constitution and law," the statement said.
In another related development earlier in the day, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) Chief Justice Athar Minallah — during a hearing against PEMRA — asked whether Khan wanted to hurt the morale of the armed forces by delivering anti-military speeches.
"Did you hear Imran Khan's speech from yesterday? Do political leaders deliver such speeches? Will everything be put at stake just for the sake of a 'Game of Thrones'?" the IHC CJ asked Khan's counsel, making a reference to the popular television drama in which nine noble families wage war against each other to gain control over a mythical land.
IHC CJ Minallah said that the armed forces lay their lives for the nation and in a case where someone is involved in illegal activity, everyone should not be criticised over it.
"Hold yourself accountable for your actions. You [Khan] want to issue statements as per your wishes and don't want the regulator to do its job?"