Former army chief’s ‘set-up’ still active, alleges Imran
• Accuses establishment of ‘pressurising’ three MPAs over Elahi trust vote
• Says Hussain Haqqani was hired to lobby against him
LAHORE: Former prime minister Imran Khan on Sunday lashed out at the former army chief again, alleging that Qamar Javed Bajwa stabbed him in the back and that his “set-up” was still active in the establishment purportedly to stop the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) from coming back to power.
Speaking to reporters, the PTI chairman claimed that Mr Bajwa “stabbed me in the back” but now he was expressing sympathies for him. Mr Khan said the ex-chief was not interested in accountability of the corrupt which led to terse relations with him. “I felt the change of attitude in [retired] Gen Bajwa after he was given an extension and slowly I was hammered with a message that I should give up on the matter of accountability,” he said.
Mr Khan alleged that the former army chief had hired ex-envoy Hussain Haqqani for lobbying, who launched an “anti-defamation” campaign against him and promoted Mr Bajwa in Washington.
Speaking about details of his last meeting with Mr Bajwa, Imran Khan said the former army chief called him a “playboy”. “In reply, I told him ‘yes, I had been a playboy’.” He also said the campaign to prove him as “anti-American” was launched from Pakistan, and whatever US official Donald Lu said was fed from Pakistan.
Mr Khan claimed that three PTI MPAs were being “pressurised by the establishment” to abstain from the vote of confidence to be taken by Chief Minister Parvez Elahi. “The MPAs have shared their experience about who, where, and how the messages are being transmitted to them,” he claimed.
Mr Khan added that he has no contact with the establishment as he termed it a “one-man show”. He said the establishment could play a decisive role in driving the country out of political and economic crises. “Free, fair, and credible elections is the only way out to lead Pakistan to political and economic stability,” he said.
He said the MQM’s various factions were being “gathered on one platform” in Karachi, while the BAP was being persuaded to join the PPP. Answering a question about returning to the assemblies, the PTI chairman said that there was no use in going back to assemblies as all legislation were being passed unhindered. “The PTI’s return to assemblies will, however, be tantamount to accepting the PDM government,” he added.
The PTI chairman said foreign minister Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari knows nothing about diplomacy, particularly Pak-Afghan relations.
Warning the nation to get ready for more difficulties than the existing back-breaking inflation and price-hike, Imran Khan said Pakistan had no choice but to go to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
“Going to the IMF programme will further increase financial difficulties for the masses but not going to the international body would crush the country’s economy leading to the sale of its assets,” he said.
Mr Khan, flanked by Senator Dr Sania Nishtar, was speaking through a video link from his Zaman Park residence on Sunday. Calling the incumbent rulers “economic hitmen”, he said they got their Rs1100 billion corruption cases closed at the expense of the economy. Mr Khan said the country could default if the incumbent government did not join the IMF programme at the earliest.
The PTI chief said he had collected funds for the flood victims with complete transparency so that affected people could be given relief and rehabilitated. Briefing the nation about the collection of funds and its utilization, Dr Nishtar said PTI chief Imran Khan had done three telethons and some Rs15 billion were pledged. She said the funds actually received stood at Rs4.6 billion.
Of Rs4.6 billion, she said Rs3.4 billion were deposited in the Punjab chief minister’s flood relief account and Rs1.2 billion in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa chief minister’s account.
“The Punjab and KP governments have so far spent Rs3.6 billion funds, while Rs1 billion was lying in accounts to be transferred to the Sindh government for the relief of flood affectees as per announcement of the party chief,” she said and regretted that the Sindh government was not sharing the survey data for the dispensation of funds.
Explaining the funds that could not reach Punjab and KP CMs’ accounts, Dr Nishtar said around Rs4 billion were pledged but the donors had stated that they would spend the funds to help the flood victims. As per the State Bank of Pakistan report, she said, some Rs4.3 billion foreign transactions through credit cards failed due to different problems.
Published in Dawn, January 2nd, 2023