Gen Faiz, Gen Bajwa orchestrated no-confidence move against Imran, claims Fazl

Published February 15, 2024
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in an interview with Samaa TV. — Screengrab
JUI-F chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman in an interview with Samaa TV. — Screengrab

Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman on Thursday claimed that former army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-spymaster Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who was the then-Peshawar corps commander, had guided all political parties regarding the no-confidence vote against former prime minister Imran Khan and the PTI government.

In April 2022, Pakistan saw for the first time in its history the ouster of a prime minister through a no-confidence vote. The efforts for the PTI founder’s removal were led by the then-opposition.

For its part, the PTI accused the country’s then-rulers of colluding with the US and hatching a regime change conspiracy to topple Imran’s government and blamed the military, which was led by retired Gen Bajwa at the time, for letting the then-dispensation in Islamabad go ahead with the alleged conspiracy. The US had denied any interference.

In a tell-all interview on Samaa TV programme ‘Nadeem Malik Live’, the JUI-F chief elaborated on the events of the no-confidence vote and said: “They (Gen Bajwa and Gen Faiz) were in contact with all political parties regarding the no-confidence motion and they told us the way of going about it.”

When asked whether the move was a brainchild of the two generals, the JUI-F chief replied in the affirmative but added that ultimately, both the PPP and the PML-N supported the move.

Fazl stated, “I was not in favour of the no-confidence move. Just for my friends, I sacrificed my opinion.”

He emphasised his preference to proceed with the “power of the movement”, noting that the PPP was spearheading the no-confidence motion.

“Gen Faiz had come to me and he asked me to go ahead [with the no-confidence vote], but only within the system, but not out of the system. Though I refused it,” he claimed.

Fazl further explained that he changed his stance once representatives from various parties approached him for a joint action. “If I had refused it again, they would say I am saving Imran.”

He insisted that all political parties were convened in the presence of the two generals, who allegedly provided directions on the matter.

It must be mentioned that Gen Faiz was replaced as the Inter-Services Intelligence director-general by Lieutenant General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum in October 2021 and posted as the Peshawar corps commander.

Reflecting on the multi-party alliance Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), the JUI-F chief clarified that the PDM was not merely a political or electoral alliance. “It was a movement founded on common principles, and despite our differences, we continued to stand together,” he remarked.

When asked for the reasons behind the ascension of Shehbaz Sharif in the PM’s race, Fazl said he was unconcerned about such developments “because I have taken my position and hence there is no reason for me to discuss this matter”.

Regarding the possibility of discussions with the PTI, he stated that a decision would be made after their delegation engaged in talks with him.

On the fairness of the recent general elections, Rehman said: “The election has been stolen, all of it … There are stories that can’t be told on the media … we have clearly rejected it and we will start a campaign against it.”

Rehman said the JUI-F was the only party that maintained there was rigging in both the 2018 and 2024 elections.

Questioned about his statement yesterday that the “narrative” regarding last year’s May 9 riots was “buried”, Rehman said: “If the establishment’s narrative is that the elections are fair then it means the narrative on May 9 has been buried and people have voted for traitors in Pakistan.”

He clarified that his grievance was with the establishment.

Flurry of reactions to Rehman’s allegations

Rehman’s remarks triggered a flurry in political circles with his former allies in the PDM-led government and the PTI both opining on the allegations he made.

“Today it was proved that behind the conspiracy to overthrow the government of Imran Khan,” the PTI said in an incomplete message on social media platform X, alluding to the two generals that Rehman accused in his interview.

“A confession that has vindicated Imran Khan’s stance,” the PTI’s United States chapter said.

Former National Assembly deputy speaker Qasim Suri said the truth always emerged.

Jamaat-i-Islami Senator Mushtaq Ahmed called for the Supreme Court to take legal action against the former generals.

Meanwhile, PML-N Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb refuted Rehman’s allegations.

Speaking on Geo News programme ‘Aaj Shahzeb Khanzada Kay Sath’ today, she said: “None of the events that the Maulana spoke about happened in front of me. I was never part of the events that were mentioned by him nor did I hear anything about it.”

She added that the PML-N doesn’t see a coalition between PTI and JUI-F.

Speaking on the same show, PPP leader Qamar Zaman Kaira said Rehman’s allegations only proved that the establishment withdrew its support from Imran.

“The establishment role is a reality,” he said. “They announced to withdraw the support from him.”

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