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Interior minister seeks explanation for Moonis' statement on Gen Bajwa

Rana Sanaullah says Moonis Elahi's statement on Gen Bajwa's "advice" casts doubts over army's apolitical narrative

By Web Desk
December 03, 2022
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah speaks to media in Lahore. — YouTube live stream screengrab/GeoNews
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah speaks to media in Lahore. — YouTube live stream screengrab/GeoNews

LAHORE: Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah called on Saturday for an explanation over Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Chaudhry Moonis Elahi's statement regarding former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa's "advice", saying that the statement has cast doubts over the army's narrative of being "apolitical".

In a major revelation on Friday, Moonis claimed that the PML-Q's decision to side with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was influenced by (retd) Gen Bajwa's advice to back former prime minister Imran Khan at the time of the no-confidence motion against him.

While speaking to the media in Lahore, Sanaullah responded to Elahi's statement, saying that the former army chief, on the institution's behalf, maintained a narrative before the nation that it has no links with politics.

"Gen Bajwa has retired after completing his full term. His benefits and losses don't matter. Now, Moonis Elahi's statement has cast doubt over the institution's narrative so it should be clarified," the minister said.

Sanaullah further stated that the government and the nation have trust that the commitment the military leadership and institution have made to the nation is "true" and "respectable".

He said that the institution will perform its national duty in the country's service under the same commitment so that politics progress and matters advance in the country's favour.

'No decision on no-confidence move in Punjab'

While speaking about the possibility of moving a no-confidence motion against Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi, Sanaullah said that no final decision has been made on it.

He said that the stakeholders held a meeting on Friday and another meeting will be held today as well and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif's advice will be taken.

"I personally believe that we should keep the federal government in its place in case the Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies are dissolved," he said, adding that the assemblies in Sindh and Balochistan will remain in place as the two governments have refused to dissolve the bodies.

He said that the ruling coalition will be in a better position whether there are by-polls or a general election in Punjab.

Nawaz's return 'certain'

Moving on to the economic crisis, the federal minister admitted that the incumbent government has failed to reduce inflation.

"The destruction Imran's [Khan] government brought, [we] have controlled only up till now," Sanaullah said while vowing to limit inflation in the days ahead.

He further stated that they will put facts forward when elections come.

"We will tell [the people] that this destruction hasn't been caused in six months but in three years. I hope the nation will believe us," he said.

"People will listen to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif when he will lead the election campaign. It is certain that Nawaz Sharif will come back when the Punjab assembly or general elections are held," he said.

'Watches theft brought disgrace to country and nation'

Sanaullah criticised PTI Chairman Imran Khan saying that he brought disgrace to the country and the nation by "stealing" the Toshakhana watches.

"Imran Khan has to go behind bars for his dark deeds," he said.

Moreover, the minister said that in politics, one has to work together because no progress can be made without talks and negotiations.

He, however, said that the ruling coalition has no backdoor links with Elahi and it will be publicised if there are any talks with the PML-Q leader.