Tuesday February 27, 2024

Nawaz was not in favour of no-confidence move: Irfan Siddiqui

“Instead, Nawaz Sharif believed that if allowed to continue, Imran Khan’s government would ultimately self-destruct," says Siddiqui

March 27, 2023
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.—APP/File
Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif.—APP/File

ISLAMABAD: Senator Irfan Siddiqui, a close confidant and advisor to former prime minister Mian Nawaz Sharif, made some revealing statements on two private TV channels and disclosed that Nawaz Sharif was not in favour of a no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, despite the widespread public discontentment with his government.

“Instead, Nawaz Sharif believed that if allowed to continue, Imran Khan’s government would ultimately self-destruct under the weight of its own anti-people policies,” he disclosed during an interview with two private channels.

“It was also decided that Shehbaz Sharif would resign in May, but the bullying tactics of Imran Khan forced the PDM to revise their plans,” he said. Furthermore, Senator Siddiqui clarified that while 90% of the revelations attributed to General (R) Qamar Javed Bajwa by journalist Shahid Maitla were accurate but the claim that he had written Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif’s “farewell speech” was false.

The senator also reiterated that General (Retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa was seeking an extension beyond November 2022 and that some senior leaders of PMLN had also advised Nawaz Sharif to consider the request. “However, Nawaz Sharif remained steadfast in his belief that there should be no question of even one day’s extension,” he said.

Irfan Siddiqui revealed that even in 2019, Nawaz Sharif was vehemently against the extension of General Bajwa and the associated legislation. “Immense pressure from some members of Muslim League-Nawaz persuaded him to accept the decision as a temporary measure, but Sharif to this day, considers the extension to have been a wrong decision,” he said.

Senator Siddiqui shared that Maryam Nawaz, like her father Mian Nawaz Sharif, was also opposed to the continuation of the PDM government after the successful no-confidence motion. In fact, he said on several occasions, Maryam expressed her dissatisfaction with the situation, stating “Why should we carry this basket of filth on our heads.”

Mian Nawaz Sharif made his stance clear that Shahbaz Sharif should resign by May 25 and everything had been settled. “The message was also indirectly conveyed to Imran Khan that the government would be resigning and that elections for the four provincial assemblies and the national assembly would be held by September 2022,” he said.

He said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif also informed General Bajwa of the decision, and the army conveyed the message to Imran Khan on its own. “Despite being advised by the army that there was no justification for his May 25 long march on Islamabad, Imran Khan announced the long march on May 22 in a press conference in Peshawar,” he said.

Senator Siddiqui said Imran Khan’s aim was to take credit for the new elections by marching on Islamabad and telling the people that he took the date of the new elections by sending the government home. However, he said, when Nawaz Sharif learned of this plan, he stated that there should be no talk of resignation and new elections now, asserting that they would never be bullied by Imran Khan.

“Instead, he challenged Imran Khan to test his strength. From this point on, the situation took a turn,” he said. Senator Irfan Siddiqui said elections were offered to Imran Khan on a plate, opportunity which he squandered due to his stubbornness and bullying. “While Imran Khan now yearns for elections, he will have to wait a bit longer,” he said. Senator Siddiqui said that Imran Khan does not truly want elections, but rather desires chaos and anarchy, which only reflects his lack of wisdom, landing him to his current position.