Monday September 25, 2023

Army chief appointment: PM violated secrecy by consulting ‘fugitive’, says Imran

Imran Khan called out PM Shehbaz for consulting Nawaz Sharif regarding appointment of the new chief of army staff

By News Desk & Our Correspondent
November 15, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing the participants of the long march from his residence in Lahore. Screengrab of a Twitter video.
PTI Chairman Imran Khan addressing the participants of the long march from his residence in Lahore. Screengrab of a Twitter video. 

LAHORE/ LALAMUSA: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan called out Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for consulting Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PMLN) supremo Nawaz Sharif regarding appointment of the new chief of army staff (COAS).

Addressing the long march participants from his Lahore residence, he claimed that PM Shehbaz violated the Official Secrecy Act by consulting Nawaz Sharif on the new COAS appointment.

“How can the PM consult a fugitive [Nawaz] on a chief of army staff’s appointment,” he said, referring to PM Shehbaz’s last week’s visit to London. “It is impossible to imagine that a convicted and fugitive person will now take important decisions in Pakistan,” he said adding that the court of law would be moved against violation of the Secrecy Act.

The former premier said the ruling alliance leaders were only thinking about protecting their wealth, questioning whether they should “be trusted with the important decisions of the country?”

Imran Khan claimed that a propaganda cell was selecting some particular parts of his interviews given to the foreign media and doing politics on it. Addressing the long march participants via video-link, the PTI chairman reiterated that despite being in power in Punjab and being the former prime minister of the country, he could not register the first information report (FIR) about an attack on him in Wazirabad.

He said the PTI has approached the Supreme Court, adding that he was “hopeful that the honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan [Umar Ata Bandial] will look into this matter.”

Khan said he knew who was involved in his murder conspiracy; however, “despite my constitutional right, I could not register an FIR”. “They [authorities concerned] listened to the powerful factions and did not register the FIR,” he lamented, despite him being a prominent leader. “Now think how they treat the common man?” he questioned.

He added that Senator Azam Swati’s case would also be heard in the Supreme Court, hoping that CJP Bandial will himself hear Swati’s case. In Swati’s case, “I will only trust Supreme Court’s decisions,” he added.

Addressing the participants of Haqeeqi Azadi March in Mandi Bahauddin through video link, he said “if we fix the justice system in our country, much money can come from overseas Pakistanis that we will not have to fold our hands like beggars.

“When I started the ‘movement of justice’ 26 years ago, I said that our problem is only one and that is that there is no justice here. I knew that overseas Pakistanis want to invest in Pakistan but they don’t because they don’t have confidence.

“An investor is always a coward because an investor wants to invest money where he can get profit. A Haqeeqi Azadi Movement is actually a movement for justice. Justice is done when the courts side with the weak.

“Winston Churchill [former prime minister of the United Kingdom], during World War II, said if our courts are delivering justice, no power can destroy us. I request the Chief Justice of Pakistan that two important decisions are being made in London. One decision is being made whether there will be early elections or not. The second decision is being made as to who will become the army chief.

“I want to put it before the nation that it is impossible to imagine that a fugitive and convicted man will take such important decisions of the country. “This does not happen in any civilised society. Shehbaz Sharif is the prime minister of the country. Does this person not know how he cannot consult a fugitive on a sensitive matter like the appointment of the army chief? This is a violation of the Official Secrets Act and we will take [legal] action on it. How can he talk to this fugitive? The question is, does this fugitive and convicted man love Pakistan?

“Will this man decide whether elections should be held early or on time within Pakistan? Does he have any stake in Pakistan? His children are sitting abroad. Will this man decide about holding elections? This person has only one goal, how to steal the country’s money and then how to take NRO?

“Will a person with such goals make important decisions of the country? Pakistan cannot come out of this quagmire as long as PDM is in power in the country. How will we pay back the instalments when the country’s income is reduced?

“Economic stability does not come unless there is political stability. Economic stability can only come after political stability. Nawaz Sharif did not care about merit all his life. It is the grave tragedy of the country that a person who is afraid that he will lose if early elections are held, so he is not holding elections. He is delaying the elections for his personal interest.

“The whole country should think whether we should allow such a man to take important decisions of the country. We should not allow it at all.”

Imran Khan said: “I have been saying the same thing for 26 years that we want to be friends with everyone, but we don’t want to be slaves to anyone. We want to be friends with India if India is ready to solve the Kashmir issue. I also tried to make friends with India during my tenure. When we joined America’s ‘war on terror’, read my published statements at the time. I used to say that this is not our war.

“We are sacrificing our people in someone else’s war. I kept saying the same thing that we sacrificed our people because we are not free and our thoughts are not free. We are enslaved. “Our foreign policy does not protect the interests of the people of Pakistan; it sacrifices its own people for someone else. I don’t want any animosity. We want the best relations with China, Russia, America, but we do not want to be enslaved.

“I put the cipher before the National Security Council and Parliament; the President of Pakistan showed that cipher to the Chief Justice. Pakistani Ambassador Asad Majeed sat in the National Security Council during Shehbaz Sharif’s tenure and said that the cipher was correct and Donald Lu threatened him to remove Imran Khan.

“The second Security Council meeting also confirmed that the ‘intervention’ took place. We want our relations with all countries to be good because the better our relations with the countries, the more our trade will increase and the country will develop.”

Former premier said: “Sometimes in the lives of nations, there comes a time when the nation stands at a decisive point. Today we are embarking on a journey of true freedom. Our march is for true freedom and that freedom comes from justice. Common man will get rights through justice and rights will give him freedom.

“In Pakistan, small businessmen are asked for bribes, but in Dubai or Malaysia, there is no such thing because in Pakistan, there is no law. Pakistan ranks 129th on the World Rule of Law Index. The nation will not be able to achieve freedom until it itself struggles for its freedom. “You have to break your own chains.”

PTI Leader Shah Mehmood Qureshi, Dr Yasmin Rashid and Hammad Azhar also addressed the participants. The second PTI long march rally, led by senior party leader Asad Umar, reached Jaranwala on Monday. He told big gathering that the Haqiqi Azadi March had kicked off, and it would not stop till achievement of its goals.