ISLAMABAD, Pakistan – Ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan accused former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa of playing a “double game” against the government, according to sources, saying he committed a “big mistake” when extended the tenure of then military chief in 2019.
Khan made the remarks during an interview with a local TV channel on Saturday, days after he hoped the newly appointed Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Syed Asim Munir will work to end the prevailing trust deficit between the nation and the State.
“I would believe in everything General Bajwa would tell me because our interests were the sameâ€¦ that we had to save the country,” said 70-year-old Khan, as India Today quoted.
The Paksitan Tahreek Insaf (PTI) chairman also claimed he received reports from Intelligence Bureau (IB) on “what games were being played against his government”.
He claimed that then military establishment was in contact with the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo Nawaz Sharif to topple his government and the plot against him became clear following the removal of Lt Gen (retd.) Faiz Hameed as ISI chief in October 2021.
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On November 29, Pakistan’s Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa retired after completing a six-year tenure as head of country’s all-powerful military. General Syed Asim Munir was appointed for the position.
“Under the leadership of General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the army demonstrated exemplary services in effectively dealing with various challenges, including the country’s exclusion from the FATF (Financial Action Task Force) Grey List, COVID-19 pandemic, and the recent flashfloods,” the PM office said in a statement.
“You had the honor of leading the best army in the world,” he added as quoted by the Arab News.
In an interview published in an international media outlet on Sunday, Bajwa reiterated the army’s resolve to remain apolitical and – in an apparent reference to former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party – said that a campaign had been launched against the armed forces because it refused to intervene in politics.
“Despite some criticism and undue vilification of the armed forces through mass propaganda and meticulously crafted false narratives, the institutional resolve to remain apolitical will remain steadfast,” the outgoing army chief said in the interview, as Arab News reported.
“I am certain that this political quarantine of the armed forces will auger well for Pakistan in the long term by fostering political stability and strengthening the army-to-people bond.”
The army has ruled Pakistan for almost half of its 75-year history either through coups or as an invisible guiding hand in politics.