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Monday May 27, 2024

Comment: IK’s wish to talk to Gen Asim hard to materialise

How any member of the military establishment could trust Imran Khan in view of what Imran Khan did with General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa

By Ansar Abbasi 
March 04, 2023

PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks during a televised address on February 22, 2023. — Instagram/@imrankhan.pti
PTI Chairman Imran Khan speaks during a televised address on February 22, 2023. — Instagram/@imrankhan.pti

ISLAMABAD: PTI chief Imran Khan’s urge to have a meeting with Army Chief General Asim Munir is hard to materialise.

There are two reasons for this. Firstly, unlike his predecessor the Army Chief General Asim Munir is not reported to have met any politician outside the government. He has distanced himself from politics and politicians and this is what the oath of the military officers requires from them.

Secondly, how any member of the military establishment could trust Imran Khan and risk meeting him in view of what the PTI chief did with his great benefactor General (R) Qamar Javed Bajwa, former army chief.

Eversince his ouster from the Prime Minister’s Office, Imran Khan has levelled all sorts of allegations on the military establishment including General Bajwa. Khan’s strategy of pressuring the establishment by targeting it and even alleging the latter of conspiring to kill him has made him untrustworthy.

No better than the Army generals know what General Bajwa did to bring Imran Khan into power and then how the former army chief helped him run his government. General Bajwa, who for Imran Khan during his rule was the best general the country had ever produced, was termed by the PTI chief a traitor, conspirator and worst enemy of Khan.

Till the last days of General Bajwa as Army Chief, Imran Khan has been pressuring him to remove the Shehbaz Sharif-led PDM government and pave the way for early elections.

“You still have time to review your policy,” warned Khan in August last year while alleging that the establishment supported the corrupt. Khan never wanted to talk to his political adversaries, who are in the government now, but wants the establishment to do what suits his politics. After the change of command in the Army, Imran Khan’s expectations with the present Army Chief remained the same.

Despite his criticism and all sorts of allegations, the PTI had contacts with the military establishment till the last days of General Bajwa in office. However, with the change of command in the Pakistan Army, PTI lost all its contacts with the military establishment.

PTI top spokesman and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry had recently confirmed to this correspondent that eversince the appointment of new Army Chief General Asim Munir there is absolutely no contact with the PTI and the military establishment at any level.

Sources in the military establishment when were contacted by The News had also endorsed it, insisting that for being apolitical they are not in contact with political leaders of any political party.

While the new Army Chief General Asim Munir has focused himself on pure professional matters, the ISI senior officers who in the past were interacting with the PTI leaders or receiving their call are no longer available for any kind of discussion.

A former senior member of the military establishment recently told The News that now only an officer of the level of major is available to receive PTI calls. However, sources in the present establishment insisted that all ISI officials have been barred from interacting with leaders of any political party.

Fawad Chaudhry was of the view that the establishment’s claim that it is apolitical and is not in contact with any political party is though impressive as a talking point, in reality it is not neutral.

It was also reported by this newspaper while referring to the claim of a source, who till a few months back was closely associated with Imran Khan that President Dr Arif Ali wanted to facilitate an interaction between Khan and the incumbent Army Chief General Asim Munir but it could not happen. This information, however, could not be confirmed from independent sources.