Sunday, January 01, 2023
Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has claimed that ex-chief of army staff (COAS) General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa’s "setup is still working in the establishment".
During an interaction with journalists in Lahore on Sunday, Khan, without taking the name of the army chief, said: “In Pakistan, the establishment is the name of one person.”
Khan, who was removed from power through a vote of no-confidence in the National Assembly in April last year, said the former army chief did not want accountability in the county, hence, his relations with Gen (retd) Bajwa worsened.
Referring to a question, Khan said Bajwa was expressing solidarity with him after stabbing him in the back.
Recalling his last meeting with the former army chief, Khan said Gen Bajwa termed him a “playboy”, adding that he replied: “Yes, I had been a playboy.”
The former army chief was against the rule of law in the country, Khan also accused Bajwa.
The former prime minister accused Gen (retd) Bajwa of hiring the services of Husain Haqqani, former Pakistan’s ambassador to the United States, for lobbying in the US.
Haqqani was accused of seeking US action against Pakistan's military through the so-called memo months after the US raid in Abbottabad in 2011 on Osama Bin Laden’s compound amid an increasing rift between the civilian and military leadership. He was accused of issuing visas to Americans without due process, bypassing relevant authorities, and embezzling funds.
The deposed prime minister also said Haqqani launched a campaign against him and had been promoting the former army chief in the US.
Turning his guns towards former president and ex-army chief Pervez Musharraf, Khan said he made dollars by “selling terrorism”.
“Dollars can be obtained by selling terrorism,” the ousted premier added.
However, 80,000 people lost their lives due to Musharraf’s actions, he added.
The country will only progress when the army and all political parties would be on the same page, Khan added.
The military operation, he went on to say, is not the solution to any issue, adding that he always raised his voice against operations in Waziristan.
Talking about the prevailing political crisis in the county, the former prime minister reiterated that the PTI would not return to the National Assembly. He added that it would be a fruitless practice.
Lashing out at the establishment yet again, Khan said that three of their lawmakers were asked to remain neutral during the vote of confidence in the Punjab Assembly.
“The MQM factions are being united and Balochistan Awami Party (BAP) leaders are included in the PPP (to counter the PTI in the next election),” Khan added.
Stressing the need for free and fair elections, the PTI chairman said that transparent elections will bring stability to the country. He also slammed the “game of audio leaks” in the country.
Lambasting the coalition government, Khan said Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari did not know anything about Afghanistan.
The former prime minister lauded the foreign policy of his government, saying that they had been enjoying cordial ties with the current regime in the war-torn country.
In response to a question regarding the coalition government’s decision to replace former Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ramiz Raja, Khan said Najam Sethi has nothing to do with cricket.
Berating the coalition government for making amendments to the Constitution of the board, the World Cup-winning cricketer-turned-politician said: “Ramia Raja flourished the sport and also saved money.”
It must be noted that Raja was sacked just days after the national team suffered a humiliating first-ever 3-0 home series whitewash at the hands of England, according to a government notice.
But a change had been on the cards since April last year when Imran Khan — a former national team captain — was ousted as prime minister and replaced by Shehbaz Sharif.
A government notice Sharif's cabinet had dismissed Raja, and the PCB would now be run by a 14-member committee headed by Sethi, who has twice served as chairman.
However, Khan claimed that the cricket body was destroyed by bringing back Sethi.