Khawaja Asif condemns Canadian MP Tom Kmiec's allegations against COAS Bajwa

Published June 27, 2022
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks during the National Assembly session on Monday. — DawnNewsTV
Defence Minister Khawaja Asif speaks during the National Assembly session on Monday. — DawnNewsTV

Defence Minister Khawaja Asif, in his speech in the National Assembly on Monday, condemned the allegations levelled against Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and the military by Canadian parliamentarian Tom Kmiec.

Kmiec, who belongs to the Conservative Party, in a recent speech on the floor of the Canadian parliament, had accused COAS Bajwa of "toppling two governments in Pakistan" and claimed that the military under his command was involved in human rights abuses and had links with terrorist groups.

In his NA speech today, Asif said the Canadian government and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau respect Pakistan, but "if their parliament member attacks our institution and state, then it is incumbent upon us to respond to those allegations."

Asif said the Canadian government should have itself taken notice of the remarks made by its parliamentarian.

Responding to Kmiec's accusation that the previous government in Pakistan was "toppled" through military intervention, Asif said the PTI government was removed through a constitutional process and the judiciary had also endorsed it.

He informed the House that Pakistan had raised the issue at a diplomatic level as he linked Kmiec's allegation with "Islamophobia".

"I believe the Canadian lawmaker does not represent his country or people, but if there is any such statement, there will be a reaction to it," Asif added.

The defence minister noted that such voices were also being raised in other parts of the world, including the UK and the US "because of hatred propagated by former prime minister Imran Khan".

He accused Imran of "polarising" overseas Pakistanis for political purposes, and held him responsible for Kmiec's criticism of the army chief.

Asif accused Imran of "destroying" the culture of Pakistanis at home and abroad. "Time will tell how he divided the nation and pushed us backward."

He urged overseas Pakistanis not to "spew hatred" against the country based on their own "political liking and disliking".

Asif said Canada was among the leading G-7 countries where Islamophobia was on the rise, as he linked it with Kmiec's remarks.

"In 2017, an attack on a mosque in Quebec killed 6 people. Similarly, in 2021, a man rammed a truck into a Muslim family in Ontario, killing six of them ..." the defence minister recalled.

Quoting police figures, he said around 2,700 incidents "motivated by hate" were reported in Canada in 2020 — the highest number of such incidents since 2009.

Last week, Pakistan had objected to the Canadian MP's remarks and took up the matter with the government of Canada, Radio Pakistan had reported, quoting Foreign Office spokesperson Asim Iftikhar Ahmed.

"The statement [given by Kmiec] is baseless and unsubstantiated," the state-run radio service quoted Ahmed as saying in response to a question during a press briefing on June 24.

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