Establishment enjoys ‘absolute power’ in Pakistan, says Imran

Former PM says he had differences with military over Punjab CM and anti-corruption campaign


RAMEEZ KHAN November 17, 2022
Former prime minister Imran Khan addresses a news conference after he was wounded following a shooting incident during a long march in Wazirabad, at the Shaukat Khanum Memorial Cancer Hospital & Research Centre in Lahore, Pakistan November 4, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS

LAHORE:

Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said the establishment exercises “absolute authority” in Pakistan compared to civilian setups.

Speaking to a group of journalists at his residence in Lahore on Thursday, which has now become somewhat part of his daily routine, the former premier said things went south for him after he visited Russia in February this year.

Imran said the army chief wanted Pakistan to vote against the Russian invasion of Ukraine at the United Nations while he was of the view that abstaining would be a better option.

He said that the army chief also informed him of American pressure on the matter.

“I told him [army chief] that Pakistan should follow independent foreign policy.”

The ex-premier, who was ousted from power in April this year via the opposition’s no-confidence vote, said during his visit to Moscow, Russia had offered gas and oil supplies to Pakistan in addition to wheat at subsidised prices “which is what Pakistan was in need of to offset rising inflation”.

Speaking on the occasion, he also conceded that he had differences with the establishment on the issue of then Punjab chief minister Usman Buzdar and the anti-corruption drive.

Also read: PTI ‘steps back’ from next COAS appointment issue

The deposed premier said the military wanted Aleem Khan to be appointed the Punjab CM. Imran said he was informed about the “shady dealings” of the disgruntled PTI leader which is why he said he did not make him the provincial chief executive.

The PTI chief also admitted that as prime minister he failed to achieve results from his anti-corruption campaign.

He also criticised the military’s media wing for responding to his statement on the army chief's appointment that he had made during his Faisalabad address, saying he had never given any statement against the army as an institution.

He reiterated that they have stepped back from the issue of the army chief. “Those in the government are fighting like cats and dogs, so let them fight it out.”

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