Friday, February 10, 2023
Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Friday said that ex-army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had accepted that he was behind the "regime change" move that led to his government's removal.
Khan had earlier blamed the United States for overthrowing his PTI administration, later he turned the guns towards the ex-army chief, and then he also claimed that Punjab caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi was also involved in the "regime change" operation.
In an interview with Voice of America (Urdu), the ex-premier said: "General Bajwa told the journalist with much pride how he had our government ousted due to economic policies and other matters."
He added, "People were already aware of who was behind overthrowing the PTI regime. However, General Bajwa has accepted and clarified that he was behind our government's ouster."
Imran Khan — who became the first prime minister to be ousted through a no-confidence vote in April last year — said that at present the establishment and the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led coalition government are on "one page".
Khan was referring to a recent column published in a local newspaper, in which a journalist wrote about his meeting with the ex-army chief, where Gen (retd) Bajwa spoke about his time in the office and interactions with the PTI chief.
In the column, the journalist wrote that Khan wanted the former COAS to save his government, however, Gen (retd) Bajwa did not do so as he feared that the PTI "was dangerous for the country and if it remains in power, the country would not survive".
In conversation with journalists in Lahore, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry stressed the need to "consider General Bajwa's confession, as after it, the matter is clear".
The former federal minister said the ex-COAS' "revelation" has ended the legality of the incumbent government. The PTI leader said that since the PTI government's ouster, the economy remains in shambles.
Fawad added that there is a need to end the "differences" for the country to move forward, but stressed that Pakistan should not be taking dictation from friendly countries on how it should be running its affairs.
The senior PTI leader said that the country should move towards elections soon and those whom the people should be allowed to form the government.
In response, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said that he could not "believe" that Gen (retd) Bajwa could say such things about him, which were mentioned in the column.
"On March 31, 2022, General sahib had declared me a hero when I finalised the Reko Diq deal," the former finance minister said, slamming the former army chief.
"The columnist wrote that the former army chief had my NAB (National Accountability Bureau) cases dismissed through [Lt Gen (retd)] Faiz Hamid. The former army chief's comments are against the truth and ridiculous."
PTI leader Farrukh Habib, while talking to journalists in Faisalabad, said that finally, "General Bajwa has spoken the truth" that he was behind the move that led to the ouster of Khan's government.