SEPTEMBER 13, 2022
In a change of stance, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan and former PM Imran Khan showed his indirect support to the extension of tenure of Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying “the issue should be deferred until the elections”.
Commenting on Pakistan’s ties with foreign countries in an interview with a private channel, he said: “We want relations with America based on respect and they will happen, God willing. India is doing business with Russia, China is a strategic partner of America, why can’t we do that, why should we be someone’s disciple and follow his orders? I want friendship, not slavery.”
Khan said, “For the stability of the country, the first option is to hold elections as soon as possible and the government that comes after the elections should appoint the army chief.” When Khan was asked whether an extension of tenure should be given to Bajwa until the election, he replied: “I have not thought about it in detail yet.”
Khan said the position of the Army Chief is important and should be based on merit. “Neither Asif Zardari nor Nawaz Sharif is qualified to take this decision based on merit,” said Khan.
ON THE GOVT
Imran Khan said that the people who brought down a good government should ask themselves today whether they were thinking of Pakistan. “Either these people should have been very intelligent or they should have had a track record of improving the country…If the government is ready for a transparent election, I can talk to them.”
Khan said that economic stability cannot come without political stability, which can only come from elections. “If Pakistan falters, more problems will arise. I am afraid that it would mean a huge loss and also affect our national security.”
ON THE ECONOMY
“Today, Pakistani bonds have reached at 50% discount and despite the International Monetary Fund (IMF) programme, the country has record inflation and is headed for default. The best option is to hold elections in the country for political stability. We have the option to resign from all our governments,” he said.
Question for Shahbaz Sharif: Are you, out of PTI-fear, responsible for media gags on us, threat & violence against journalists & fake cases against them, forcing blackout of PTI & myself from TV & YouTube & the callous act of trying to blackout my flood relief telethon?
— Imran Khan (@ImranKhanPTI) September 12, 2022
Khan said he had warned that if there was political instability in the country, the economy would be unmanageable, “especially for those who had overthrown the government as part of a foreign conspiracy and given themselves the National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO)”.
Khan said he has never seen any Election Commission so biased.
“There has been a lot of destruction during the recent floods. The entire nation has to help the flood victims. The country may face issues related to food security in the future,” said Khan.
The long-term solution to flooding is to build more dams, tackle climate change and, in particular, build an integrated drainage system, he said.
CONTEMPT OF COURT
Regarding the contempt of court case, Khan said that “I expressed my regret”.
During a rally in Islamabad on August 20, Khan threatened to file cases against top police officials, the election commission and political opponents over the treatment meted out to his aide Shahbaz Gill, who was arrested on charges of sedition.