ISLAMABAD: The parties in the coalition government were “afraid” I would appoint Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed as the next army chief, PTI Chairman Imran Khan claimed Wednesday.
The PTI chairman, while hitting out at the government during a seminar on “Regime Change Conspiracy and Pakistan’s Destabilization”, said: “They were afraid that I would appoint Lt Gen Faiz. They feared that if that would have happened then it would shatter their future.”
The ousted prime minister said the incumbent rulers are “afraid of the army and the Inter-Services Intelligence” as they know that their “corruption” will be caught at some point.
“Imran Khan does not want to save his corruption, he does not want to appoint his army chief,” said the PTI leader.
Khan said that the incumbent rulers claim that he wanted to appoint an army chief of his choice.
“I never thought of appointing someone as army chief. I have never taken a decision that is not based on merit.”
The PTI chairman berated the incumbent rulers for allegedly “murdering the institutions” and appointing “their people” to every institution.
‘Regime change conspiracy’
Moving on to the “regime change conspiracy”, Khan said that the United States does not change regimes for a country’s betterment. It only does that for its interests, not ours, he added.
He said that in the past, the United States used Pakistan for the “war on terror”, resulting in heavy casualties to Islamabad, while its air bases were also used for drone attacks.
“Our interest is that our soil is not used against Afghanistan or any other country. America wanted us to accept India’s demands. It wanted us to forget Kashmir and accept Israel,” he said.
Khan said US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Donald Lu “arrogantly threatened” Pakistan, so can a “sovereign nation” accept such threats.
The PTI chairman said he was aware of the “conspiracy” to oust his government. “People ask me if I knew about it, then why didn’t I do anything? Well, I never imagined that they would appoint Shehbaz Sharif as the prime minister.”
Khan, addressing the “neutrals”, said Shehbaz has been booked in corruption cases worth Rs16 billion.
The PTI chairman said the measures being taken today will lead the country toward destruction as a “circus” is going on in Punjab and the judiciary now had immense responsibility.
‘Freedom from NAB’
Talking to the participants of the seminar, former finance minister Shaukat Tarin said the government was formed not for providing relief to the people, but to get the rulers “freedom from NAB (National Accountability Bureau).”
In a scathing attack on the government, Tarin said it is so “incompetent” that later this month, a mini-budget is expected — after it reaches an agreement with the International Monetary Fund.
On Tuesday night, Pakistan and the IMF evolved a broader agreement on the budget 2022-23 to revise upward the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) target and slash down the expenditures to achieve a revenue surplus in the next fiscal year.
They are expected to reach an agreement soon.
The former finance minister said there are rumours of a further Rs50 per litre hike in the price of petrol, which will exacerbate the burden on the masses — who are already getting the commodity Rs234.
‘Regime change is still incomplete’
In his address to the seminar, PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry said Energy Minister Khurram Dastagir has admitted in a television programme that the coalition government came into power to end their cases.
Last week, during an interview with a private channel, Dastagir had admitted that the coalition government leaders knew that there would be disqualifications on a massive level by the end of this year if things continued in line with Khan’s plans.
The former information minister said the government used 22 members of the National Assembly (MNA) belonging to the PTI to come into power, as he claimed that the then-opposition did not have the numbers to oust Khan.
“The no-confidence motion was not local, it was based on foreign agenda,” he said. Chaudhry hoped that the Supreme Court would answer the PTI’s prayer on the formation of a commission to probe the alleged foreign conspiracy.
“If you would ask me whether the regime change conspiracy has completed, my answer will be no. The regime change is still complete in Punjab,” the former information minister said.
For her part, senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari said a “conspiracy” was hatched against the Khan-led government, leading to its ouster two months back.
“First there was a conspiracy and then they [foreign powers] interfered,” she said, slamming the government for “proposing” talks and friendship with New Delhi.
The former human rights said after Khan’s “refusal” to give air bases to the United States, America “intensified” its “conspiracy” against the PTI chairman.
“The Kashmiris are dying and our foreign minister [Bilawal Bhutto] is proposing to promote trade with India. Trade with India is America’s agenda,” the PTI leader added.
Mazari was referring to Bilawal’s address at the Institute of Strategic Studies Islamabad (ISSI). The Foreign Office had last week stated that the statements were being “interpreted out of context and portrayed incorrectly.”