LAHORE: Former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan has admitted that he dissolved Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies on the advice of former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa (retd).
In an interview with a private TV channel, Imran Khan recalled: “In a meeting with General Bajwa held in the presence of President Dr Arif Alvi, Bajwa said that if you want elections, dissolve your governments in provinces.”
The PTI chief, however, insisted that Gen Bajwa had no ideology and whatever he told him were lies. The Intelligence Bureau (IB) chief told him that Bajwa wanted to bring Shehbaz Sharif into power, he added. Imran Khan also revealed that a leader from the Middle East had told him a year ago that Bajwa was not with him any longer.
“General Bajwa and the intelligence agency knew that the current rulers had stolen the money from the national kitty and taken it abroad. Despite knowing this, General Bajwa was willing to give them ‘NRO’ as he had planned an extension for himself, Imran claimed, adding “If you have an ideology, you can’t convince yourself to give a NRO to these people.”
Responding to a question, Imran suggested elections can take place in July if Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif dissolves the National Assembly. “Elections can be held in July if the prime minister dissolves the assembly,” he maintained, stressing caretaker governments in both Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa are illegal after the lapse of their stipulated term.
He said: “The caretaker government’s tenure is over already, it has become illegal.” He demanded the caretaker governments be abolished and a new “neutral” interim setup be installed, adding the Supreme Court of Pakistan has given May 14 as the date for Punjab polls and his party won’t let the government go beyond that.
He said: “If they think they will pressurise the Supreme Court, we will not let it happen. They will scandalise the top court to run away from elections.”
Imran Khan went on to say that inflation has irked the masses and the government is running away from dealing with it by postponing the elections. “They are scared of elections,” he declared.
Imran alleged the ECP is working in connivance with the ruling PDM. “Maryam Nawaz is receiving protocol. The election commission is with them,” he added.
Commenting on the issue of talks with the government, Imran said he had given the mandate of negotiations to Shah Mehmood Qureshi and not to Asad Qaiser. “There has been no discussion about negotiations with Shah Mehmood Qureshi so far,” he made it clear.
Imran Khan claimed the government would use negotiations to further delay the polls, saying his ‘long march’ took place because the government was not serious about talks with his party. “I gave 20 days to start the long march. Are 20 days not enough for negotiations,” he asked.