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COAS agreed to help hold fair polls: Imran

Updated April 18, 2017


ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan said on Monday that he had informed Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa that his party would not put up with another controversial election like the one in 2013.

“I met Gen Bajwa recently and told him clearly that we will not allow 2013-like polls [to be held] in [the] future,” Mr Khan said in an interview with a private TV channel.

When asked why he had announced that Gen Bajwa was a keen supporter of democracy, soon after meeting the army chief, Mr Khan replied because Gen Bajwa had said he believed in democracy.

“However, I told the army chief that democracy was not about holding elections but [about] conducting fair and transparent elections,” he added.

He said Gen Bajwa had assured him that the army would play its due role in holding fair, free and transparent elections in 2018. He added that the meeting took place on his request.

PTI won’t accept another 2013-like election

“I [requested] that army personnel be deployed outside and inside polling stations to foil the traditional rigging tactics [used by] the PML-N.”

Mr Khan said they had discussed several other important issues including security in Khyber Pakhtun­khwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas and the appointment of former COAS Gen Raheel Sharif as chief of a Saudi Arabia-led military alliance of 41 Muslim states.

Mashal Khan

The PTI chairman announced that he would visit the residence of Mashal Khan, the slain Abdul Wali Khan University student, on Tuesday to express condolences on his death.

“Tomorrow I am going to meet his family and [I have] ordered the KP inspector general of police to thoroughly investigate the killing,” he said.

“We will bring this case to its logical conclusion and will not spare anyone involved in the murder of the innocent student,” Mr Khan said, adding that the university management would also be made accountable for the tragic incident.

He said that even if Mashal Khan was accused of committing blasphemy, he should have been given a right of defence. “But in this particular case, he did not even commit blasphemy,” he said.

Earlier, Mr Khan chaired a party meeting at his Banigala residence and discussed several important issues, including the much-awaited decision of the Supreme Court on the Panamagate case, and loadshedding in the country. The party decided to kick off a countrywide campaign against loadshedding and the increasing circular debt.

The meeting also reviewed suggestions on how money laundering could be controlled and Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan’s recent statement regarding money laundering. “The elimination of money laundering is impossible till Nawaz Sharif is in power as the prime minister and his brother-in-law are involved in money laundering,” Mr Khan claimed.

The participants noted that the power shortfall had increased to 7,000MW over the past two years. “Media reports say there was a shortfall of 3000MW when Nawaz Sharif came to power,” PTI leader Asad Umar said.

Published in Dawn, April 18th, 2017