Saturday February 04, 2023

Imran Khan questions General Qamar Javed Bajwa seeking US help for IMF loan

Imran Khan said that if the news about Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa contacting the US officials for early release of loan from the IMF was true, “it means we [Pakistan] are getting weaker

By our correspondents
July 30, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. File photo
PTI Chairman Imran Khan. File photo

ISLAMABAD/LONDON: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan Friday said that if the news about Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa contacting the US officials for early release of loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was true, “it means we [Pakistan] are getting weaker.”

In an interview, Imran Khan said it was not the army chief’s job to deal with economic matters. He also questioned whether the US would demand anything in return if it decides to help Pakistan, saying he was afraid the country’s security would weaken, given their previous (the US) demands.

Khan said neither the IMF nor other countries trust the government. “I think that’s why the army chief has taken the responsibility now.”

Repeating his demand for early elections, Khan said political stability can only be brought about through fair and transparent elections. “Those sitting in power are afraid of the elections,” he said, recalling that when he was ousted from the office, he did nothing except approaching the public.

“Had they [coalition government] announced early elections, the country would have been saved from this disaster,” the PTI chairman said, adding absence of a roadmap is one of the reasons behind the economic crisis. He said that earlier PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and vice-president Maryam Nawaz had demanded snap polls, but now “they are afraid”.

“At this moment, the most alarming thing is the lack of trust of the market, somebody has to be held accountable for the current situation,” he asserted. On his relations with the opposition members, Imran said: “I don’t have any personal grudges against anybody. I had healthy relations with Nawaz and Benazir Bhutto; however, my issue is corruption as they come into power and make money for themselves.”

He said now that he sees their (coalition leaders) situation, he feels “sorry” for them. “Sometimes they target the judiciary, sometimes they say that they favoured Khan by bringing the no-confidence motion, while some say that the army has trapped them by mistrusting us,” he said. Khan defended Arif Naqvi after the Financial Times made explosive claims that the defunct Abraaj founder was involved in sending illegal political funds to the PTI party, using an offshore company.

Khan confirmed he has read the Financial Times article which made serious allegations of misuse and misappropriation of charitable funds. Khan defended Naqvi and suggested that he was so successful and bright that he was brought down through a conspiracy.

Imran Khan analogised Arif Naqvi’s rise and fall to that of Agha Hasan Abedi — the Pakistani who founded the Bank of Credit and Commercial International (BCCI) and saw its collapse after one of the biggest banking fraud scandals. Supporters of Abidi have blamed a western conspiracy behind his fall. Imran Khan said about the Karachi-born Abraaj founder that this was a tragic case.

Imran Khan said: “Arif Naqvi’s case is a tragic case. It’s a big tragedy. Arif Naqvi is facing allegations, these are only allegations and there has been no trial yet. My heart says …. Arif Naqvi was rising fast. We saw the BCCI collapsing in front of our eyes. It was emerging as a bank and I remember that it was providing jobs to Pakistanis all over the world. There were branches of the BCCI all over the world. There were minor issues of money laundering and the whole bank collapsed. They even had assets. As far as I know, Arif Naqvi didn’t cause loss to anyone. Monies were returned to all the lenders and the case against him is over some irregularity. Arif Naqvi has yet to face the trial at the court. For me the tragedy is that here is a Pakistan who was going up and making progress in the world.”

Imran Khan accepted for the first time that Arif Naqvi had funded the PTI but added that there was no illegality. He said, “These funds came to our party accounts. There is a full money trail that these funds came through banking channels and we have everything disclosed and audited. This happened in 2012 and there was no case against Arif Naqvi at that time. The poor Arif Naqvi was charged in 2019. I am talking about 2012 when he was a bright star of Pakistan.” The former prime minister said, “Arif Naqvi was Pakistan’s rare kind of rising talent who would have benefited Pakistan more as he rose high. I have known him for around 25 years. As he made money and progressed, he developed his equity firm Abraaj. He then went into venture capital. He was set to benefit Pakistan and was helping Pakistanis a lot already. He was rising fast.

“Arif Naqvi gave a lot of money to the Shaukat Khanum Hospital. He used to live in Dubai and would always fund us for charity. In 2012, he organised two fundraising dinners for PTI; the one in London at his own ground (in Wootton) and then in Dubai he invited top businessmen. This is called political funding.”


    COAS begging for funds FROM SA was OK commented 6 months ago

    It was OK to beg for funds on IK's government's behalf was OK

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    Nasser Yousaf commented 6 months ago

    Imran, why don't you arrange charity cricket matches to help Pakistan come out of its financial problems? The competing teams can be called by any names like those Arif chose for Peshawar and Faisalabad.

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    Dan Hanley commented 6 months ago

    Imran Khan is the greatest thing that has happened to Pakistan since Jinnah.

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    Muhammad Sajid Rafique commented 6 months ago

    Government shouldn't beg IMF to release loan even though government raising too many taxes and continuing raising. What would you do with labour that you crushing? You all keep in mind God will never forgive you.

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