ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan Saturday complained about former chief of the army staff General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa’s changed behaviour after being granted an extension as the military’s head.
The deposed prime minister, while speaking in an interview with a private news channel, said that the former army chief compromised with the Sharifs — Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif.
“General Bajwa changed after the extension and compromised with the Sharifs. He decided, at that time, to give them the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO).”
Reiterating his claim about the ex-army chief hiring Hussain Haqqani — Pakistan’s former ambassador to the United States — to topple Khan’s government, the PTI chief said: “They hired Hussain Haqqani through the Foreign Office and we didn’t know. They met Haqqani in Dubai and hired him in September 2021.”
Khan added that the former diplomat began lobbying against him in the United States and promoted General (retd) Bajwa.
The ousted prime minister, who departed from office following a no-confidence motion last spring, linked the alleged cipher by US diplomat Donald Lu — which Khan claimed was part of a conspiracy to topple his government — was the result of the lobbying in America.
“Gen Bajwa would repeatedly tell us to focus on the economy and forget about accountability,” Khan said.
The ex-prime minister said he hoped for the post-Bajwa establishment to be neutral but complained that “Mr X and Mr Y asserted their pressure in Punjab and threatened our people to join the PML-N.” Speaking about the attempted assassination attack on him, Khan said he knew that PM Shehbaz, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and a senior officer had planned the attack. “I knew that they plotted to attack me,” he alleged.
Speaking on the names proposed for the interim chief minister in Punjab, Khan said that his party and allies gave trustworthy names for the post in the province.He also slammed the candidates named by the opposition claiming that one is Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Co-chairman Asif Zardari’s frontman, while the other is Shehbaz Sharif’s.
“One name was involved in regime change against us. If the election commission appoints such a man, we won’t accept it,” the PTI chairman asserted.
Although, the caretaker CM in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa has taken his oath, the opposition and government in Punjab are still at odds over the appointment. As a result of the contention, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) will now decide the matter.
Terming the recently-held local bodies elections in Karachi as “pointless”, Khan said: “Elections have not taken place in Karachi.”Complaining about the results of the polls, he asked how the people of Karachi could possibly elect the PPP. “Karachi’s residents have great awareness; how can they elect PPP?”
In the local government elections held on January 15, the PPP emerged as the single largest party with 91 seats, while the Jamaat-e-Islami trailed behind it with 88 seats as the second-biggest party. The PTI, meanwhile, stood third with 40 seats.
Khan, in his interview, also commented on the numerous problems in Sindh and said that the province’s situation was “the worst” across the whole country. “PPP’s corruption has brought Sindh to ruins,” he said.
The former premier termed the people of Sindh and Karachi as the most oppressed given the city’s state and the delays in its progress. Khan said he knew he “had to” go to Karachi.
Commenting on rampant corruption in the country’s sprawling metropolis, the PTI chief said that construction work in the city was slow because builders had to pay Rs30 million for each permit, which went to the “Zardari” system. “A builder told me so in front of the chief secretary”.
Khan further lambasted the election commission for being “asleep” since it had failed to take concrete measures against the PPP for rigging the polls. “All parties insist that there was rigging,” Khan said.
The former prime minister also dismissed the Toshakhana case by saying that the entire matter was being blown out of proportion.
“The government and the handlers together blew the Toshakhana case out of proportion. When we asked for others’ Toshakhana records, we were told it’s a secret,” he said.
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