Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Tuesday said the government was privy to the PTI leadership’s, including party chairman Imran Khan’s, purported contacts with the establishment.
Talking on Dawn News show “Live with Adil Shahzeb”, Asif said: “We know about these meetings [with the establishment] and the second-tier leadership of PTI also had a meeting a few days ago,” he said.
He denied that Imran had allegedly held two meetings with the army chief.
Asif added that thus far only one purported meeting had taken place between the two, further saying that the government already knew about that meeting beforehand.
Talking about the appointment of a new army chief, the minister said the Prime Minister’s Office had yet to send a formal letter for the summary of candidate names to the Ministry of Defence.
“The prime minister will take the decision when it is the time but the PTI chief making the appointment controversial is nothing but sheer frustration on his part,” he remarked.
The defence minister also ruled out the widespread impression that the PTI had behind the scene support from certain quarters in the recent by-elections.
Talking about the party’s internal discussion that leadership needed to be handed over to PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, the minister said there was “no doubt” that Maryam was popular, but, he suggested that the party needed to work on its other aspects such as its media strategy.
Without mincing his words, the defence minister admitted to the fact that the party was lacking in the use of digital technology.
“I have no qualms in making a confession that PML-N lacks utilising social media and the latest technology to reach out to the masses,” he said, adding that the party need to access the youth through a similar medium they were familiar with.
When asked about the government’s ongoing talks with the banned Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, the minister replied that he had “no idea” about that process.