Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan admitted on Thursday he offered extension to the tenure of army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa when the then opposition was “conspiring” to topple his government.
“I repeatedly warned Gen Bajwa that if this no-confidence motion succeeded it would have direct impact on economy and no one would be able to control it, [and] the economy will go into tailspin,” Imran said in an interview with a private news channel.
Imran said he told the army chief that if the then opposition was offering him extension then he could do the same.
His statement came after DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum revealed at an unprecedented press conference that the army chief was offered an indefinite extension to his tenure in front of him in March this year.
In the interview, Imran asked the military “why did they hold the press conference to discuss political matters if they were apolitical”. He said: “They held a political press conference so I don’t understand this. Could the defence or interior minister or prime minister not have done this?”
Imran said that since his removal from the government in a no-confidence motion in April, it was his endeavour to prevent any harm to the country and the army from his side.
Similarly, he added, if he started giving replies to the press conference, “it will directly go on our army … [and] it will cause a lot of damage” to the country, adding: “I don’t want to hurt them in any way.”
Talking about “backdoor talks” as mentioned by the ISI chief in his press conference, Imran said that a meeting took place at the President’s House. “And in it, one thing was said that I have said publicly several times … except for elections there is no other way.”
Imran insisted that he had been criticising “dirty harry” — who according to him had been recently posted in Islamabad — for the torturing PTI leaders Azam Swati and Shahbaz Gill.
Commenting on PTI leader Faisal Vawda’s press conference, Imran expressed regrets, saying he did not expect such statements which left his party leaders bewildered and shocked.
On Wednesday, Vawda spoke at a press conference in Islamabad claiming that the upcoming PTI long march would witness “bloodshed”. Vawda also said that the establishment had no role in the killing of senior journalist Arshad Sharif.
Imran said that Vawda gave such a controversial statement at the insistance of “dirty harry”. He added that everyone knew that “attempts were made to silence him [Arshad Sharif]”.
’Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq’
Separately, the former prime minister Imran Khan reiterated that “Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq” hatched a foreign conspiracy to topple his government.
Addressing the PTI social media team and a video statement on the eve of his long march towards the federal capital, Imran invited the masses to join his movement for real freedom of the country.
“Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq hatched a foreign conspiracy to topple my government,” Imran told the party’s social media team. “Through the social media, show every citizen what they did with the PTI government.”
In his video statement, Imran said he was going to launch his “Haqeeqi Azadi” movement from Liberty Chowk, Lahore, on Friday (today), inviting all the people to participate in it.
“This movement is not for political point-scoring or gaining personal benefits or for that matter dismantling a government. This is meant to get the country free in true sense,” he said.
“Since the inception of Pakistan, after the Tehreek-e-Pakistan, through which we gained freedom from English, the PTI’s movement is also of the same magnitude in essence,” he added.
Imran underscored that the purpose of his movement was to decide the country’s fate. “No puppet from abroad should decide for us,” the PTI chairman said.
“The PTI will continue to fight for real freedom until the doors of foreign conspiracies to get power are shut. Second, there should be justice. Everyone should be equal before the law,” he said.
Exposing West’s hypocrisy on the Kashmir issue, he said that no one could speak against Israel in America, because it was against their national interest, adding that millions of Kashmiris had been martyred, but the West was unable to speak out on this issue.
(WITH INPUT FROM OUR LAHORE CORRESPONDENT)