Former Prime Minister and Chief of PTI Imran Khan on Monday proposed extending the term of Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa until the upcoming elections.
In an interview with a private TV channel, Khan said that the appointment of the army chief should be postponed until the election of the government, which should then choose the new military leader.
Khan has made headlines since his ouster in April due to his constant comments about the army chief.
Earlier this month, while speaking during a public gathering in Faisalabad, the PTI chief called on the government, saying it was postponing elections to appoint its own army chief, and that if a “national army chief of staff came, he would not make an exception for the incumbent rulers”.
However, today, in a change of heart, the former prime minister said he is ready to hold talks with the coalition government on early elections.
He also made it clear that he is not anti-American, a day after news spread that the head of PTI met with former US diplomat Robin Ravel at his residence in Bani Jala.
Regarding the Islamabad High Court’s decision to indict him in the contempt of court case on September 22, Khan said that if the five-member hearing in the case would have allowed him to say something, he would have apologized.
The court had received notice last month of the former prime minister’s speech at a public gathering, in which he allegedly threatened Islamabad with additional hearings of Judge Ziba Chaudhry to extend the imprisonment of Pakistan Rescue Party leader Shahbaz Gill.
“Do they have a solution?”
During the interview, Khan said that he has been involved in politics for the past 26 years and that his party has always followed a path in line with the country’s constitution.
Khan, while mocking the performance of the coalition government, said that the country would be stuck in a quagmire if the mandate of the current leaders were extended further.
He said that the economic repercussions of the floods will be witnessed during the winter season. “Tell me […] Do they have a solution? Exports are going down, loans are going up, remittances are going down […] Your ability to make loans is shrinking.”
“The economy is shrinking while unemployment is rising,” Khan emphasized, adding that this record high inflation – which hit 27.3% in August – is unprecedented in Pakistan’s history.
The ousted prime minister hinted that the government would “raise electricity prices further” as the International Monetary Fund demanded that the coalition government increase electricity fees.
Emphasizing his “foreign conspiracy” position, the PTI chief questioned: “Those who brought in these people after the removal of our government, I want to ask […] Were they thinking of Pakistan? Everyone knows the history of these two families.”
Commenting on the ruling family policies of the Sharif and Zardari families, the PTI chief said that these two families ruled Pakistan for 32 years. “If they had a good record and were geniuses, the situation would have been different but they destroyed the country’s institutions because they were involved in corruption,” he said.