Former president of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Javed Hashmi and PTI Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday traded barbs after Hashmi on a TV show accused the PTI chief of conspiring against the government during the 2014 sit-in because he had failed to win enough votes in the election.
Imran, in response, accused the veteran politician of lying. "What response can I give to Hashmi's jhoot plus?" he asked.
In a fiery diatribe against his old party, Hashmi made the allegation that, "Disgruntled elements in the army wanted to make Raheel Sharif unsuccessful at any cost, and through Imran Khan, they wanted to destroy the parliament."
The former PTI leader even alleged that senior party members had not been convinced that there had been rigging on a large scale in Punjab during the 2014 election, despite the PTI's public stance during their historic sit-in the same year that large-scale election rigging had resulted in the party's loss.
"The parliamentary leader was Shah Mahmood Qureshi. Presiding over the parliamentary leaders, he [had] said that there had been no rigging in Punjab. At most, in one or two constituencies," Hashmi claimed.
Hashmi also accused Imran Khan of working in league with non-political forces working against the government, whom Hashmi referred to as 'script writers'.
"Our script writers, whoever they were, wrote that Tahir-ul-Qadri would go to parliament and we [the PTI] would sit behind them. That was the main script," he claimed.
"Imran said [former Chief Justice of Pakistan] Tasadduq Jillani would leave and then Nasir-ul-Mulk would [be sworn in]. He would [listen to us] and dissolve the assemblies. And after that, there would be elections in 90 days. During that time, he said, the Supreme Court will take over and then we [the PTI] will win," Hashmi alleged.
"I said, Imran Khan, this is not how it happens. This sit-in will not be successful."
"If you're not winning, don't destroy the entire country because you are frustrated," Hashmi said, recalling his conversation with the PTI chief.
"I resigned because the Supreme Court's holidays were [suddenly] cancelled ... This seemed like a very big conspiracy to me," he said.
"This seemed like the last item [on the script]. Because the generals had already told Imran Khan that Nawaz Sharif would not sign his resignation letter," Hashmi claimed.
The veteran politician was referring to an incident in 1999, when General Mahmood had allegedly asked PM Nawaz Sharif to sign his resignation, but the premier chose not to sign the letter and told the general to kill him instead.
"It was [Imran Khan's] second step to get everything done by the Supreme Court," Hashmi added, referring possibly to a move to force the prime minister's resignation through the Supreme Court.
Hashmi also said he has always been against the PTI's strategy of sit-ins against the government. "It isn't the right strategy as it will only produce more struggle for the young political workers in your party," he said, adding that he had warned Imran his party workers would struggle on the streets for five years without any outcome.
"Young people see things in black and white," he said. "I am more experienced than he is in politics. I know what I am saying."
'What response to Hashmi's jhoot plus?'
Imran responded to Hashmi's allegations by implying the veteran politician had lost his senses and was lying.
"I think Javed Hashmi has reached the age where his mental state is not sound. What response can I give his madness, his jhoot plus?" he asked.
Hashmi, responding to Imran Khan's jibe at his age, said, "Imran Khan is only a year and a half younger than I am ... A board should examine his mental state and mine too. Then it will be clear who is sharper."
"If a mental health institution [tested us] and released a report, then the country would be free of Imran Khan ... They will be surprised to learn what a liar he is."
"I think there should be a commission. There has been such a big fraud with the people. I guarantee you, he will not dare to sit and say otherwise in front of me."
Hashmi's resignation from the PTI
In 2014, Javed Hashmi had announced his resignation from the party presidency and its membership following his suspension after various allegations against Imran Khan which the party leadership said he had failed to explain.
Hashmi had said that he could no longer continue his membership with a party 'conspiring' to dismantle democracy in Pakistan.
In a memorable speech to a joint session of Parliament in 2014, the seasoned politician had claimed that a system existed in the country "to engineer [the] making and breaking of governments."
He made the claims shortly after alleging that "a scripted plan to overthrow the government, using violent protests as a pretext" had influenced the 2014 sit-in against the government.