GUJAR KHAN / ISLAMABAD: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Monday castigated Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif for discussing the appointment of the next army chief with his elder brother, while the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf termed it a violation of the Official Secrets Act and a breach of the PM’s oath of office.
“We are seeing pictures [of Prime Minister] Shehbaz Sharif consulting Nawaz Sharif to appoint the next army chief,” the ex-premier said, adding that “what can be a bigger disgrace for our country that thieves are making decisions for us.”
Nawaz Sharif was a convict who had “lied to the nation and fled the country” as he had done during Musharraf’s regime, Mr Khan said, asking if “convicts and absconders” would be allowed to select the new army chief.
Referring to the chief of the military’s media wing, Mr Khan said he had questioned why they did not understand that ‘thieves’ should never select the army chief.
PTI leaders term PM’s meeting with Nawaz a violation of his oath and Officials Secrets Act
He said that he had only suggested that the next army chief be appointed on merit, but the Sharifs and Zardaris did not believe in merit.
If they did, “intellectuals like Aitzaz Ahsan would have been leading the PPP and seasoned politicians such as Chaudhry Nisar would not have parted ways with the PML-N,” he said.
Also on Monday, Fawad Chaudhry and Shireen Mazari chastised the PM for “violating his oath by consulting a convict and absconder” over such an important appointment. Mr Chaudhry said the PML-N ministers had admitted the meeting in London was pertaining to the appointment and that Nawaz Sharif decide who the new COAS would be.
He said that people held the Pakistan Army close to their hearts and allowing a convicted person to choose its head was against its dignity and respect. PTI strongly protests this grave legal violation, he added.
Dr Mazari, in her remarks, said: “Do those who brought crime minister and cabal of crooks to power realise that this lot is a security risk and threat to Pakistan because everything is discussed with convict sitting in London which is a violation of Official Secrets Act, including confidential matters?”
While criticising Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif at the public meeting, Mr Khan showed a video clip of the premier, compiled by American comedian Jimmy Fallon, struggling to put on his earphones during his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
He said, “Kaampain taang rahi thin” [legs were shaking] when Shehbaz met Putin. “Those who imposed him on us, they did not do it for he would serve the people but would fulfil their orders,” he said.
He asked what PM Shehbaz would achieve by attending the United Nations session. He said if the Sharifs and Zardaris bring back half of the looted money, there would be no need to beg from other powers.
Mr Khan said “he may have many disagreements with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, but he was a respectful leader and was hanged to death by the then Mir Jaffar and Mir Sadiq by hatching a conspiracy”.
He said that “Bhutto also talked of Azadi (freedom)”.
Mr Khan then criticised the Sharifs for begging money from the world on one hand and looting billions of rupees in the name of their servants on the other. He said three witnesses and an FIA investigator died of cardiac arrest as soon as Mr Sharif came to power.
He said that international community was not helping Pakistan in testing times, because they knew the real face of ‘thieves’. “Nobody gives money to thieves,” he said, recalling that he collected Rs14 billion during three telethons as people knew he did not own any foreign property or keep money abroad.
He also criticised the Sindh government for not building a canal along the Indus River that he said resulted in the flooding of the towns .
He condemned the government action against those TV channels and journalists who were pro-PTI and said graceful journalists like Arshad Sharif and Sabbir Shakir were “forced to leave” the country. He said his aide Shahbaz Gill was tortured in jail, and he was booked for terrorism when he asked for action against those involved in torturing Mr Gill.
Meanwhile, Mr Khan claimed work on the mega Ravi City Project, which would have the world’s largest waterfront, was steadily progressing.
In a tweet on Monday, he revealed that the work was progressing on Ravi City, which has a $40 billion investment portfolio.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2022