PTI dials down rhetoric, hails top military appointments

Imran demands immediate holding of polls to end chaos


Our Corresondent November 25, 2022
Former prime minister Imran Khan said that he would take 'more precautions' but vowed to carry on regardless of the risks. SCREENGRAB

ISLAMABAD:

Hailing the appointments of the next army chief and chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, the PTI on Thursday hoped that the new leadership of the armed forces would play its role to strengthen the constitutional rights and democracy in the country.

While referring to the approval to the top military positions by President Arif Alvi, the former ruling party in a statement said that it was ready to take measures in the “best interest of the nation’s security and stability of state institutions”.

The PTI said that the events during the last eight months had caused “deep divide” across the country and measures taken during the time had brought “extensive damages” to the country and its state institutions.

The statement said that human rights were “grossly violated” and the media was subjected to “torture and harassment”, recalling that “Arshad Sharif, one of the senior journalists in the country, was assassinated” during the said period.
The PTI said that its chairman Imran Khan was “pushed against the wall” by the “imported government”.

“The imported govt & the state, in pursuit of pushing the leader of the largest political party against the wall has plunged the country into the worst form of political instability that has essentially sent the economy into a tailspin,” the statement said.

The party hoped that the new leadership of the armed forces would play its role in strengthening the constitutional rights and democracy in the country.
It expected that “people’s right to elect a new leadership through fresh elections would be recognised”.

“The people of Pakistan expect that their armed forces, while dealing with an array of external threats, would stay out of the politics of domestic affairs and that the rights of political parties would not be infringed,” the statement said.

“Free, fair & transparent early elections are the only solution to the prevailing crisis in the country and we believe that all individuals as well as institutions who feel the pain of the nation, must play their role in ensuring this democratic future,” it added.

The party congratulated General Sahir Shamshad Mirza on his appointment as chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and General Syed Asim Munir as chief of the army staff.

Meanwhile, the PTI chairman once again reiterated his stance of holding early polls in the country, saying not doing so would lead the country towards “economic chaos”.

“If they (government) don’t hold elections immediately, it does not bother my party, because we are gaining all the time. But our worry is that they will leave the country in a … state where it will be beyond anyone’s control,” he said in an interview with PBS.

Imran said his party would “wait” if the incumbent regime “goes the whole way fine”.

“My only concern is that, the way things are going, we could be heading toward chaos. I mean economic chaos”.

He stressed that the PTI’s protest in Rawalpindi would be “completely peaceful”.
On US-Pakistan relationship, the PTI chief said that Islamabad acted as Washington’s “handgun” during the war on terror.

“It is just a fact that the Pakistan-US relationship has been lopsided … In Pakistan, we have been — well, the war on terror, we were like a hired gun. And I think it is a very undignified relationship.”

Imran replied in the affirmative when asked whether he could have a good working relationship with the US if he wins the office.

“The United States is a democracy. Democracies accept criticism. Democracies accept other people’s point of view. Master slaves don’t,” he said.

“Pakistan’s relationship with the US is very important for us. So, just because [of] the regime change, it shouldn’t mean that I should have not in future [a] relationship with the US. And, yes, I have my right to criticise”.

Separately, Imran urged all the Pakistanis to participate in his party's much-hyped long march on Saturday (tomorrow).

"Dear Pakistanis, I want all of you to participate in our haqeeqi long march in Pindi at 1pm on Saturday," he said in a short video statement.

The PTI chief said the nation would not stay silent until it gets real freedom. "I am coming for you despite my [health] condition and all of you need to come to Pindi for me," he concluded.

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