‘Qamar ousted Nawaz’ in Panama case

Imran says 'establishment' reality but regrets ex-COAS’ decision to retract from accountability

News Desk January 22, 2023
PTI chief Imran Khan gestures during an interview in Lahore. Photo: SCREENGRAB

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Sunday revealed that former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had "sent two brigadiers" in the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) in the Panama Papers case that ultimately led to the disqualification of the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

In an interview with a private channel, Imran reiterated his stance that Qamar had “changed” after he was granted an extension in his tenure in 2019.

"Gen (retd) Qamar used to pressure me to focus my energy on the economy and forget about accountability," Imran said while stressing that before the extension, he used to sit with journalists and tell them how much corruption they (political leaders) had been involved in and later the same leaders were "brought to power".

"In their JIT, Gen (retd) Qamar had sent two brigadiers that later proved Nawaz Sharif's Panama case," he said, adding that this was the reason that "to this date, Nawaz Sharif refuses to forgive Qamar".

Nevertheless, Imran defended his past decision to rely on the "deep state" when he was in the government.

"The establishment is a reality in this country. It is the single intact and organised institution at the moment. If you do anything through the army, it gets it done," he said.

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Counting the "positives", Imran said that when it came to the management of the coronavirus pandemic among other health and natural crises "they were able to do things the bureaucracy and health department could not".

"But the negative is that if they decide against something, it cannot be done. There is no accountability and no rule of law then," he added.

Imran's statement comes two days after Nawaz had held former army chief and former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) General Faiz Hameed responsible for the current state of affairs in the country.

“They have spun Pakistan around themselves and have played a disgusting joke on the country,” he had said.

The PML-N supremo in the past also alleged that the JIT was biased against him.

On the Sindh local government elections, Imran conceded that the PTI's local organisations "did not perform as they should have such that it could win despite electoral rigging".

The PTI chief said that while there had been "widespread rigging" in the Punjab by-elections last year, "people came out in such a fashion that we still emerged victorious".

He nonetheless maintained that the Sindh LG polls should be annulled as free and fair elections could not be held.


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