Wednesday Oct 19, 2022
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif has said that the PML-N government will not be blackmailed by the PTI if the Imran Khan-led party comes to the federal capital.
"Imran Khan wants to blackmail the government with his protest sit-in and the long march into Islamabad," he said, speaking during Geo News programme "Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada kay Sath" on Tuesday.
"However, the government will not be blackmailed."
No negotiations are being held between Imran Khan and the establishment as there is no room for compromise, the minister said. Imran Khan talked about the "negotiation thing" to offer his aides some hope, he claimed.
A couple of meetings took place thanks to Imran's old acquaintance, he said, adding no meeting is apolitical as all meetings are political in nature.
According to the defence minister, the selection process for the new army chief will likely begin within the next five to seven days. The minister said five names will be forwarded and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will pick one of those names.
No decision has been reached so far about the appointment of the upcoming army chief, he said, adding the next army chief will not be controversial. The PTI chief, he said, would attempt to create controversy over the upcoming appointment.
PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif does not need Imran Khan's permission for the homecoming as the former prime minister can return to Pakistan whenever he wishes so, Khawaja Asif said.
The minister asserted that the general elections will undoubtedly take place on time, though the Constitution and law of Pakistan authorises the government to hold early elections if it wants to.
"We will not make decisions based on our desire. Instead, the decisions will be made in accordance with the Constitution and law," he said.
However, Imran Khan reiterated his resolve to launch the anti-government protest movement before the end of the current month [October] at all cost. He said that the march was crucial for "haqeeqi azadi (real freedom)" of Pakistan.
Imran Khan said that the coalition rulers were "running away" from elections after the government rejected his suggestion of holding snap polls.
Khan has warned the government that he has given it "some time" to take a decision on announcing the date for the general elections; otherwise, he will move towards Islamabad — and the march will not be delayed beyond October.
In a conversation with delegations of the National Press Club and Rawalpindi Islamabad Union of Journalists (RIUJ), the ex-premier said that the government was trying its best to disqualify him. Hence, cases were lodged against him, he noted.
Despite the former prime minister's repeated warnings, the federal government warned him against marching to the capital.