Prime Minister Imran Khan on Thursday said that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif was trying to create rifts in the armed forces by encouraging army personnel to “rebel against” the military leadership.
The premier was referring to Nawaz’s recent speeches in public meetings of his party and the 11-party opposition alliance — Pakistan Democratic Movement — where he accused the security establishment of orchestrating his ouster. He had named Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), Lt Gen Faiz Hameed during his speech in PDM’s Gujranwala rally and said that there was “a state above the state”.
In an interview aired on GNN today, Prime Minister Imran said: “When they say that the [military leadership] is bad and the rest of the army is good; is army a democratic party that would move a no-confidence motion? You (Nawaz) are telling the army to launch a coup, to rebel [against the leadership]. Can there be a bigger [form of] treason?”
“A person who is sitting outside in a Mayfair luxury flat bought with stolen money is telling the army [personnel] to rebel. He is also trying to drive a wedge in the judiciary by taking the name of one judge saying he is good while another, who was a chief justice and gave the Panama judgement against him (Nawaz), was a bad judge.”
PM Imran said that Nawaz was encouraging his supporters to stand up against the government while “sitting abroad like a coward”. The PML-N supremo and his daughter, the prime minister said, had stayed silent initially because they were trying to secure an NRO by sending their people to hold talks through backdoor channels.
“After the FATF legislation [was passed], they realised that they would not be given a way out and they started attacking me. Now they have started to attack the army and judiciary,” said the prime minister, adding that preventing Pakistan from being placed on the FATF’s black list was a matter of national importance, yet the opposition wanted to block the legislation until its members were granted relief.
When asked if the government would take up a treason case against Nawaz, the prime minister did not give a clear answer and said: “Treason cases are hard to prove.”
He said that he had information on Nawaz’s activities but added that “court cases cannot be filed on agencies’ reports”.
The prime minister went on to say that former ambassador to the United States Hussain Haqqani was “running Nawaz’s communication strategy”.
“Look at Hussain Haqqani; who doesn’t know what he is doing abroad along with the Indian lobby. His entire communication strategy is anti-army. ‘Pakistan army is evil, Imran Khan is a puppet’. Whose narrative is this? India is saying the same things,” PM Imran said and added that India wanted to “discredit and break Pakistan into three pieces; this is the stated policy of their think tanks”.
“Why is he (Nawaz) so popular in India today?” asked the prime minister. “Imran Khan is a Bollywood villain but Nawaz is a democrat. The person who grew up in Ziaul Haq’s lap is a democrat today, while Imran Khan who started his party from scratch, who mobilised people to come to power is an army puppet!
“Nawaz Sharif suits India, not Imran Khan.”
The premier recalled that after swearing oath, he had said that the interests of opposition politicians are opposite to those of the country’s. That statement, PM Imran said, was being proven true.
When asked if he can be pressured by other states who had aided Pakistan, the prime minister evaded the question. He, however, said that it had “killed my self-esteem and ego when I went to ask for aid”.
“What angers me is that they (opposition politicians) established a lavish lifestyle for themselves while they ran the country on loans,” he said.