Nawaz wants a ‘yes-man’ as COAS, claims Imran

PTI chief says changes in army act to be challenged in court


Our Correspondent November 18, 2022
PTI Chairman Imran Khan gestures during his address at PTI long march on November 18. PHOTO: Screengrab

LAHORE:

 

PTI chairman Imran Khan on Friday claimed that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif wanted to appoint someone as head of the army who would help further the exiled leader’s political agenda, listing his disqualification as topping the list.

“[PML-N supremo] Nawaz Sharif wants to bring an army chief, who would disqualify me [from politics],” he added in an informal chat with senior journalists.

He said the current government’s planned amendments to the Pakistan Army Act (PAA), 1952 would be challenged in the superior judiciary.

The PTI chief reiterated that the government wanted to introduce changes in the army act for its “own benefits”.

The government is apparently considering changes in the PAA that would empower the prime minister to retain any candidate through a notification, instead of putting up with a complicated process.

Imran further claimed that the PML-N-led government wanted to bring the military on a par with Punjab police.

He added that the chief of army staff (COAS) should be appointed in the same manner as the head of the judiciary.

Commenting on his health in connection with the gunshot wounds he had suffered during his “Haqeeqi Azadi March” in Punjab’s Wazirabad on November 3, the PTI chief said his doctors would examine him on Saturday (today).

“After that, I will personally lead the long march from Rawalpindi,” he added.
Imran further said the brutality of the murder of journalist Arshad Sharif was in front of everyone.

Speaking about the Toshakhana case, the PTI chief said he was given the opportunity to plead his case in court.

He added that he would move the courts in the UK and US as well against a local private TV news channel.

The former premier maintained that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was under the control of some “powerful institutions” instead of him while he was the prime minister.

Imran refuted reports that he had met COAS Qamar in Lahore.

He added that President Arif Alvi had met the army chief instead and the agenda of that huddle was quick and transparent elections.

On the attack on him in Wazirabad, the deposed premier said the main suspect in the case was produced before a court after 14 days of the incident.

The PTI chief feared that the evidence in the case could have been wasted during this period.

He said the PML-Q was his party’s ally and major obstacle in the registration of the Wazirabad attack FIR was the Punjab IGP.

Imran claimed that he tried to stop rigging in the elections through electronic voting machines (EVMs), but Nawaz, PPP Co-Chairperson Asif Ali Zardari, Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) as well as the “handlers” were on the same page on stopping this from happening.

The PTI chief said he would become the prime minister only if he was given “full powers”.

He added that it was impossible that the responsibility rested with one person while the people with actual powers were others.

He also ruled out that negotiations were under way with anyone.

Later addressing the participants of the “Haqeeqi Azadi March” in Gujar Khan via video link, Imran said today he was witnessing an enlightened nation, which understood the actual reasons behind staging the rally.

He added that the main purpose of the march was to ensure that people were delivered justice.

The PTI chief claimed that the current government had overburdened the people +with high prices on the orders of its “masters”.

He added that sovereign nations made their own decisions.

Imran said many Pakistanis, disillusioned with what was happening in the country, had gone abroad in pursuit of a better future.

The PTI chief announced that the quest for “real” independence would continue even after the elections.

Imran said that if India could buy cheap oil from Russia, then Pakistan should do so as well.

“Decisions should be made by the representatives of the country and not by any superpower,” he added.

The PTI chief further maintained that Nawaz could not decide on the next elections because he was aware that his party would lose.

He claimed that how could a person, whose life and death had nothing to do with the country, make major decisions about it.

“Is he [Nawaz] authorised to select the next army chief,” he asked.

Imran reiterated that Nawaz wanted an army chief, who would disqualify him from politics.

“Nawaz cannot play with a neutral umpire,” he added.

Separately during an interview with National Public Radio, the PTI chairman was asked about whether or not he thought he would be able to work with the military if he returned to power, especially in light of his recent allegations of a senior official plotting to kill him.

"Well, you know, the military has its own good and bad ... I think the military recognises that. I think that the members in the military do make mistakes,” he replied.

When asked whether or not it was in the country’s best interest to be staging protests, Imran said even if the government waited till next year to announce elections, his party was only becoming stronger.

“We are gaining from [the] lack of economic performance but the country is sinking. My only worry is that [in] the one year which is left, the country might just be pushed to the point where it might all go out of control [and it would] be impossible to pull it back,” he added.

(With input from agencies)

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