Suleman Shehbaz’s return part of NRO II, claims Imran Khan

PTI Chairman Imran Khan says new army chief should not carry his predecessor’s policies forward

Zeeshan Baksh
PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures during a media talk.— AFP/File
PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures during a media talk.— AFP/File

  • Khan says never called Gen (retd) Bajwa "boss".
  • Never intended to make Lt Gen Faiz army chief.
  • Audios leaked as part of plan.

LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Thursday claimed the homecoming of Suleman Shehbaz, son of Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, was a part of the “National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) II".

Suleman is set to return to Pakistan after ending his exile of over four years in London. Moreover, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) earlier today ordered the PM's son to surrender before it on December 13 and barred authorities from arresting him till then.

Talking to journalists at his residence in Zaman Park, Khan said the new army chief should not carry his predecessor’s policies forward.

“I never called former army chief, General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, 'boss' as I was the prime minister then,” Khan said. 

Gen Bajwa on November 29 handed over the command of the Pakistan Army to his successor Gen Asim Munir. With the change of command, Gen Munir has become the 17th Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) when Gen Bajwa handed over the baton to him.

Khan said he never wanted to appoint Lt General Faiz Hameed as chief of the army staff. “A propaganda was launched against him.”

On the audio leaks, Khan said those clips were leaked as part of a plan.

Earlier in the day, another audio clip emerged but this time of Imran Khan’s wife Bushra Bibi and former special assistant to prime minister Zulfi Bukhari's conversation about the sale of the expensive wristwatches gifted to the former premier by world leaders. 

Khan selling his Toshakhana gifts has become a hotly-debated topic in Pakistani politics recently. The most expensive of them all was a bejewelled MasterGraff wristwatch that was gifted to the PTI chief when he was the premier of Pakistan by Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman.

Moving ahead, Khan said Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi had reposed all of his trust in him. “They (Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid-e-Azam) will do whatever I want,” the PTI chief said.

“National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has been a subordinate to the establishment before and has been laying hands only on the weak,” Khan said replying to a question and adding: “No society can be empowered without justice”.

He said when his party came to power the country was in the grips of many mafias, but the PTI government could not crack down on them, adding two families subverted the state institutions. “Institutions became habitual of martial laws,” Khan said.

On December 2, Khan urged the government to hold talks to decide a date for an early election to end an impasse that has stoked political instability since his ousting in April.

The 70-year-old cricketer-turned-politician has been leading a countrywide agitation, demanding an early election following his removal in a parliamentary vote led by his united opposition.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, who replaced Khan, has rejected the demand for the snap polls, saying that the election will be held as scheduled later next year.

Khan has lately threatened to dissolve parliaments in two provinces, which are ruled by his party and coalition partners.

"Either sit with us and talk as to when the next elections should be held, or else we will dissolve the assemblies," Khan said in an address to his party members telecast live.

— Additional input from Reuters