'I am not in power anymore. Had I been in govt, then I would have been answerable,' says former PM
Censuring the ruling government for placing the blame of rising terrorism in Pakistan on him, former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan Wednesday said he would have been answerable had he been in power.
"I am not in power anymore. Had I been in the government, then I would have been answerable," he said while slamming the Pakistan Democratic Movement-led administration in Islamabad.
Khan berated the Centre for shifting the responsibility of the security situation towards his PTI government and its policy with regard to the bannedTehreek-e-Taliban (TTP) — the outfit which had already claimed responsibility for a number of terror incidents across the country.
The deposed prime minister, who was ousted from office last spring, claimed that terrorism was, in fact, under control during his tenure.
The government has claimed it was the PTI government's policy to negotiate with the TTP that eventually led to the outlawed group's strengthening in the country.
In November last year, the TTP ended its ceasefire and increased attacks — majorly on security forces — especially in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, with the government and armed forces vowing to fight back.
While there were sporadic attacks over the recent months across the country, Monday's suicide blast in Peshawar's Police Lines area mosque — that killed at least 100 people and injured over 200 — shook the nation, leading to severe flak on the incumbent government and its responsory criticism on the PTI.
The PTI chief, while also mentioning that he wasn't responsible for terrorism and rising inflation, said that he was devastated over the attack in Peshawar.
Khan — who was ousted from the government in April last year through a no-confidence motion — said those in power, and who ruled for 30 years before him, were responsible for the ongoing crisis.
"I feared instability in Afghanistan [...] there were 30,000-40,000 fighters in Afghanistan. Then, a decision was taken by members of parliament and the armed forces that these fighters would be settled in Pakistan."
The PTI chief then added that as he feared instability, his government tried to negotiate with the group to ensure that Afghanistan's fallout does not affect Pakistan.
Khan claimed that had the coalition parties not removed his party from power, then the situation would have been completely different. "Why did they remove my government when they could not run the country?"
The PTI chairman added that the incumbent rulers' only reason for coming into power was to get their corruption cases worth Rs1,100 billion "closed".
Khan added that his relationship with former army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa was smooth, and they were on the same page for some time.
But then, Khan mentioned, that after the ex-army chief was granted an extension in his tenure in 2019, he wanted the PTI government to forgive the cases against then-opposition leaders. "I did not listen to him."
The second bone of contention, he said, was the removal of Lt Gen (retd) Faiz Hamid Inter-Services Intelligence chief. "There was a fear of war in Afghanistan which is why I wanted Faiz Hamid to retain his position.
Moving on, Khan said that when Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari goes to court against him, he will be asked what "reputation" was damaged.
PPP earlier his week sent a Rs10 billion legal notice to the PTI chairman for levelling “baseless allegations” against its co-chairperson. Khan had blamed Zardari for plotting to have him assassinated.
"Asif Zardari will have to take an oath and inform the court about how many people he had murdered. I want Zardari to ensure that he goes to court against me," he said.
Khan said that he has "solid information" about Zardari's alleged plot to have him killed.