LAHORE: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Wednesday said he does not care about who will be appointed the Chief of Army Staff but the army chief should be chosen on merit.
During a meeting with senior journalists at the Punjab Chief Minister’s House, the PTI chief, while taking a dig at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, said that how a criminal could decide on such a major appointment.
On the missing cipher issue, Imran said that the cipher was not stolen from anywhere, adding that the original copy of the cipher was still in the Foreign Office. “I will not tell anyone the date when the long march will take place because our conversations are being recorded. I did not tell Shah Mehmood either,” Imran Khan added.
Rebuking the Chief Election Commissioner (CEC), he said that he had never seen such a biased CEC, adding that he wanted to disqualify him. “I did not do anything illegal, and I want to challenge the ECP to hear Nawaz and Zardari’s cases simultaneously, then everything will become clear,” he added.
“Everything can be done through negotiations. In the end, things are settled only through dialogue,” he said. While lashing out at Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, Imran said how Rana Sanaullah will stop their long march, adding that they have governments all around Islamabad, and Rana is just threatening them.
Meanwhile, Imran Khan directed his organisation’s office holders to ensure that thousands of party’s workers assemble in Islamabad during the “Azadi March”. The PTI chairman — who became the first prime minister to be voted out of office in April — has held a series of protests against the incumbent government and he plans on staging a long march in the near future.
There has been no reconciliation between the PTI and the government so far despite the passage of more than six months. The PTI continues to demand fresh elections and refuses to return to the National Assembly.
Sources told Geo News that Khan’s directions came during a meeting with several district heads of Punjab — including Gujranwala, Narowal, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin, and Gujrat. Khan, while delegating the responsibilities to the district-level officer bearers, said that the list of all PTI workers should be sent to him within two to three days.
The PTI chairman told the local leaders that 6,000 workers should come to the capital from Gujranwala, the same number from Sialkot and Gujrat, 5,000 from Mandi Bahauddin, and 4,000 each from Hafizabad and Narowal.
He also asked the leaders to draft a list of expenses that will be incurred during their stay in Islamabad, while directing them to begin funding for the anti-government march. “The local leadership will be responsible to bear the expenses of workers reaching Islamabad,” he told the officer bearers.
In a separate meeting with party leader Waseem Ramay, Khan said that he has directed every district to assemble 6,000 people for the long march. “I will decide from where the long march will begin and what will be its timing. I have kept details about the march close to my heart,” Khan added.
In his address to leaders and workers in Peshawar on Tuesday, the PTI chairman had said he was going to give the call for what he called the long march at any time.
The ousted prime minister said that everyone must take part in the long march, considering it a form of “jihad”. However, he didn’t give a date for the event. Following the development, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif met Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman at the PM Office.
In the meeting, both leaders discussed the country’s overall political situation, including ways to thwart the PTI’s long march, sources informed Geo News.
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Soon after the blast, the police reached the site and cordoned off the area.