ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday claimed he had used the words, Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq, for the Sharif brothers and rejected the allegation that he had criticised Pakistan Army in his speech in Abbottabad.

The former prime minister also claimed he was doing jihad rather than politics and advised party leaders to ensure that none of the PTI lawmakers, whose mass resignations were being verified by the National Assembly speaker, attend the NA session as the PTI’s only demand was early elections.

While speaking to party leaders, Mr Khan said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif was wrongly blaming him for “hatching a grand conspiracy against Pakistan”. The premier accused his predecessor of maligning national institutions, constitution and state during his speech. He warned that legal action would be taken, adding what Mr Khan had been doing could only be called “conspiracy” not against political rivals but against the country.

Also on Sunday, the military and civil authorities took notice of attempts to “drag the army” into the political quagmire, passing “defamatory” remarks against the institution and its leadership and “spreading chaos” in the country through political statements, comments and social media trends. Both the ISPR and the FIA issued separate statements, urging resident and overseas Pakistanis to refrain from such practices. The army had taken a “strong exception” to “intensified and deliberate attempts” to drag its name into the country’s ongoing discourse by “some political leaders, journalists and analysts.

Asks party leaders to ensure none among MNAs who resigned en masse attends assembly session

Mr Khan, however, said Mr Sharif was giving the impression as if he had disgraced the army while actually he had “used words Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq for the Sharif brothers”.

“Elder brother [Nawaz Sharif] use to speak against the Army and his daughter [Maryam Nawaz] is also attacking Army. On the other hand, Shehbaz Sharif says he is defending Army. Today India is more than happy because the people who used to meet Narendra Modi without announcing meetings have come to power,” the PTI chairman said.

Claiming that he was doing jihad rather than politics, Mr Khan said he would give a call after May 20 for a long march towards Islamabad. “Every person should participate in the march and those who cannot travel to Islamabad, they should protest in their own cities. Those who were elected to the assembly shall visit their constituencies and bring people to Islamabad and those without constituencies should stay in Islamabad. It would not be difficult to bring people, as people want direction rather than Qeemay Wala Naan,” he told his party leaders.

He said that overseas Pakistanis working 18 hours a day sent $32 billion a year to Pakistan but the corrupt leaders sent it back through money laundering. “I have never seen a three times prime minister of a country who lives in affluent area of Mayfair in London,” he remarked.

Referring to the hooliganism during the visit of cabinet members to Masjid-i-Nabwi, Mr Khan criticised “those who went to Saudi Arabia” and said they should have sta­­yed back as they were required more in Pakistan. He said that the government was calling legislators who had resigned from the National Assembly (for verification) and asked his party leaders to ensure that no one would attend the NA session as PTI only wants early elections.

PTI leader Ali Awan told Dawn Mr Khan has directed parliamentary members not to appear before the NA speaker for verification of resignations. He said that Usman Buzdar’s resignation, which was written to the PM, was accepted. “However resignations already accepted by [NA] deputy spea­ker are not being accepted. We have been advised not to appear before speaker as it is mockery on the constitution,” he said.

‘Insult to parliament’

Criticising the passage of a resolution against Mr Khan, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said it was passed by an “occupied assembly”, terming the resolution an “insult to the parliament”.

Mr Chaudhry said Mr Sharif had claimed cases would be lodged against Mr Khan while in another statement the PM advised the authorities not to take the statements of Maryam Nawaz seriously. “ISPR had to issue a press release because Maryam Nawaz had given a statement against Corps Commander. Imran Khan has already mentioned that if Army becomes weak Pakistan will become weak,” he added.

Also, PTI Information Secretary Farrukh Habib said Ms Nawaz was “habitual of attacking armed forces” and her father invited Narendra Modi to attend a marriage ceremony in Pakistan.

Published in Dawn, May 10th, 2022

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