PTI leader and former human rights minister Shireen Mazari on Friday said that former prime minister Imran Khan had not approached the military to help find a solution to the "political deadlock" in the country after a no-confidence motion was submitted against him.
It was the military that sought the meeting through then defence minister Pervez Khattak, Mazari said, adding that it was the military that put forward the three proposals – of the premier either facing the no-trust vote, resigning from his post or the opposition withdrawing the no-trust move and holding of fresh election thereafter.
"Let me be clear — I am stating on record [that the] PM did not call military for help on 'breaking political deadlock'," she tweeted today afternoon.
"The military sought the meeting through then Defence Minister Pervez Khattak and they put forward the 3 proposals of either PM resigning or taking part in VNC or fresh elections!" Mazari said.
Mazari's statements contradict military spokesman Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar's stance on the issue, which he put forth during a press briefing on Thursday.
When asked whether the military had approached the former premier and given him three options as had been revealed in an interview by Imran Khan, Gen Iftikhar denied this, adding that it was in fact the prime minister's office (PMO) that had approached the army chief to find a solution to the political deadlock.
"It is unfortunate that our political leadership was not ready to talk to each other. So the army chief and the DG ISI went to the PMO and three scenarios were discussed," Gen Iftikhar said.
These three scenarios were that the no-confidence motion should be held as it was, or that the prime minister resigned or that the no-confidence motion was retracted and then assemblies dissolved, Gen Iftikhar added.
"This third option was acceptable to the prime minister, and he asked us to talk to the [then] opposition on his behalf. So the army chief then went to the opposition, which at the time was PDM, and presented this request in front of them. And after discussion, the opposition said they did not want to take such a step and instead wanted to go ahead with what they had planned," Gen Iftikhar said.
"No option from the establishment was given," he clarified.
However, in a series of tweets today, Mazari said it "makes no sense" to assert that Imran Khan had himself given the option of resigning when he had "categorically and repeatedly" said he wouldn't resign.
"Why would Imran Khan give the option of resigning when he had already stated categorically and repeatedly he would never resign?" the PTI leader asked.
"Also, Imran Khan had categorically rejected vote of no-confidence as foreign regime change conspiracy. So why would he suggest these options. Absurd!" she wrote.
Imran says 'establishment' gave him three options
A week before he was ousted, Imran Khan, in an interview with ARY News, had revealed that the "establishment" had given him three options: "resignation, no-confidence [vote] or elections", following the filing of a no-confidence motion against him in the National Assembly.
The former premier said that when he was presented with the three options, "We said elections is the best option, I cannot even think about resigning and as far as the no-confidence vote is concerned, I believe in fighting till the end."
The political crisis in the country emerged after the joint opposition — primarily the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) and the PPP — submitted the no-confidence motion against the premier with the NA Secretariat on March 8.
In the days to follow, the country's political landscape was abuzz with activity as parties and individuals changed alliances and the PTI and opposition were seen trading barbs and allegations alongside intensifying efforts to ensure their success in the no-confidence contest.
Eventually, major allies of the ruling PTI — Balochistan Awami Party and Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan — deserted the government and joined the opposition ranks which led to PM Imran losing his majority in the lower house of parliament.