Wednesday February 21, 2024

News Analysis: Moonis Elahi claim shows ‘no neutrality’ until April this year

Moonis Elahi’s latest disclosure is a contradiction to former Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s claim that the institution has stood apolitical since Feb 2021

December 03, 2022
PML-Q Moonis Elahi. Twitter
PML-Q Moonis Elahi. Twitter 

ISLAMABAD: PMLQ leader Moonis Elahi’s latest disclosure is a contradiction to former Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s claim that the institution has stood apolitical since Feb 2021.

Moonis Elahi stated on Thursday in a private TV channel interview that in the wake of no-confidence motion in March-April this year against former prime minister Imran Khan, they (the PMLQ led by Perveiz Elahi) were advised by Gen (R) Qamar Javed Bajwa to back the PTI.

Although Elahi made this statement to save the former army chief from PTI’s bashing, what the Punjab chief minister’s son said instead confirms that the military establishment was not apolitical till April this year. Moonis Elahi insisted while the PTI is severely criticising Gen (R) Bajwa, it was the former srmy chief who had changed the course of rivers for the PTI.

However, sources close to Gen (R) Bajwa said that what Monis Elahi has referred to the former army chief was an “out of context” interpretation of what was discussed between them. These sources said the former army chief insists the institution had taken the decision of going apolitical in February 2022 and it never involved itself in any politics since then.

Interestingly, while Moonis talked about how they decided to support Imran Khan early this year, some latent forces had encouraged the then opposition — PDM, PPP — to go for a no-confidence move against Imran Khan.

It was The News, which on February 15, 2022 published a story — Key PDM, PPP leaders hope 30 PTI MPs will revolt — which talked about a “secret plan” being pursued by the then opposition to oust Imran Khan.

It was revealed by this newspaper, “Opposition’s decision to move a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan has some method to madness, as key leaders have high hopes that things would unfold as per the ’plan’ which is kept secret and is known to a few.”

The story added, “An informed source discloses that it is hoped that 20-30 MPs from the ruling PTI would join the opposition whereas ongoing contacts with government allies, including the PMLQ and MQM, are part of the plan.”

“Don’t get surprised if some key opposition figure meets Jehangir Tareen in the days to come,” a source was quoted as saying. “Apparently, interactions between the opposition and the government allies are not bearing any fruits but the source insists that the opposition’s optimistic leaders, including Shehbaz Sharif, Maulana Fazlur Rehman and Asif Ali Zardari, are hopeful that the PMLQ and MQM would join them when required,” The News report read.

The story added, “The source said that the hopeful in the opposition are seeing a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan in a few weeks. The source, who has shared the information with this correspondent, is among those who have knowledge of the ‘plan’ but he is not sure if the hopes given to key opposition leaders are trustworthy and are not part of any ‘bigger game.”

“According to the source, some of key opposition leaders are so sure that the things would unfold as per their hopes that one of them has even discussed his choice for Imran Khan’s replacement. The hopeful are not discouraged or disappointed about recent interactions with the PMLQ and MQM. They hoped that these PTI allies would side with them at the right time. Though it looks difficult, the hopeful are confident that the PTI MPs would be on their side and a no-confidence motion would be moved against the prime minister by month-end,” said the report.