Monday Feb 13, 2023
Reacting to his predecessor’s fresh claims on the alleged regime change conspiracy, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif slammed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan saying his “antics and somersaults” have been disappointing the nation.
“The only constant is his desperation to get back into power even if it involves plunging the country into a protracted period of instability. His politics is based on lies which are getting exposed by the day,” tweeted the premier.
When the no-confidence motion was moved against the PTI chief in April of last year, he had claimed that a US-backed regime-change operation was carried out in the country because it wanted to have military bases in Pakistan and use the country once again to meet its foreign policy objectives in the region and beyond.
The former prime minister had been repeating the claim since then during political gatherings and his media talks.
But now, the PTI chief Imran Khan has changed his stance on the alleged “conspiracy”, saying that former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa conspired along with PM Shehbaz and, as a result, the “regime change took place” in the country.
In an interview with the US broadcaster, Voice of America, he took one step backward, saying that the former chief of the army staff (COAS) had close ties with PM Shehbaz Sharif and they “conspired”, and as a result the “regime change took place”.
"Whatever happened, now as things unfold, it wasn't the US who told Pakistan [to oust me]. It was unfortunately, from what evidence has come up, Gen (retd) Bajwa who somehow managed to tell the Americans that I was anti-American. And so, it [the plan to oust me] wasn't imported from there. It was exported from here to there," the PTI chairman told the US publication.
The “problem”, according to Imran Khan, occurred when Gen Bajwa “favoured some of the biggest crooks in this country”.
He claimed that the former army chief wanted his government to turn a blind eye to corruption, the “biggest problem”, and work in tandem with the corrupt leaders, “giving them immunity from their corruption cases”.
Khan said the new military leadership had realised that the “experiment of regime change has failed”.
“I’m sure amongst the new military leadership there is a realisation that this experiment of regime change has gone wrong,” he said.
The PTI chief stressed that the elected governments must have authority as well as responsibility and a country’s “system fails if it is not the case”.
“The leading principle of the balance [of power] is that the elected government that has the responsibility, which people have mandated through their vote, must also have the authority,” Khan added.
Responsibility and authority, he said, could not be separated and hence a system could not work if the “two things are not vested in the same individual”.
“If the authority lies with the army chief, [but] responsibility lies with the prime minister, no management system works.”