Imran Khan claims Pak Army ‘working under’ him, is defender of democracy

By Ateet Sharma
New Delhi, Dec 20 : The deepening divide between the Pakistani military Generals and the top politicians of the country has been acknowledged by Imran Khan, himself dubbed as a “puppet” Prime Minister by the opposition. Khan, in an interview to a local TV channel said that there is a “lot of anger” within the Pakistani Army over the verbal attacks launched against the top military leadership, particularly by former premier Nawaz Sharif from the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) platform, but Chief of Army Staff Qamar Javed Bajwa is putting up with the tirades “for the sake of democracy”,

Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Sharif has repeatedly, while addressing the PDM rallies through a video link from London, accused the Pakistan’s security establishment of orchestrating his ouster, bringing Khan into power, creating “two governments” and a “state above the state”.

“General Qamar Javed Bajwa, you packed up our government which was working well and put the nation and the country at the alter of your wishes. This is all your doing. Now there is a state above the state which is the root of all problems. Should I blame Imran Khan for this catastrophe or the people who brought him into power? I hold you responsible for all the mess you have created,” Sharif had said while targeting Bajwa during the first rally of the 11-party opposition alliance in Gujranwala.

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The three-time Prime Minister has maintained that Bajwa, along with ISI head Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, rigged the 2018 general elections to “impose the incompetent Imran Khan” on the nation.

Thus it comes as no surprise to see the former cricketer-turned politician coming out to bat for his bosses sitting in Rawalpindi’s General Headquarters (GHQ). Khan believes that the opposition is pressurizing the Army to remove his democratically elected government by constantly referring to him as a ‘puppet’ who is taking orders from the GHQ.

“I praise General Bajwa today. To attack an army chief in this manner; a reaction comes from the army.[But] Gen Bajwa is an uncomplicated man. There is composure in him, that is why he is tolerating this. There would be a big reaction if somebody else was leading the army. There is a lot of anger within the army ranks, I know he is tolerating this because he believes in democracy,” Khan was quoted as saying during the TV interview by Pakistan’s leading daily, Dawn.

Khan also wants the world to believe that it is him who bosses over the country’s army, not vice versa.

“The Pakistan Army is a government institution. They are subordinate to me. The Pakistan Army is not sitting above me. I’m an elected prime minister of Pakistan,” he said.

Not surprisingly, the opposition scoffed at the comments made by country’s Prime Minister.

“I feel sorry for the condition of this Prime Minister who has to tell this too. The rest is up to you. The servant is obedient,” tweeted PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz.

It is not for the first time that the Pakistani Prime Minister is being widely ridiculed and trolled online for making an inane comment. Not too long ago, Khan had said that Sharif was playing a “dangerous game” by targeting the army at the behest of India.

“Nawaz Sharif is playing a dangerous game against Pakistan and I am 100 per cent sure that India is supporting him. He is becoming the next Altaf Hussain. He is a coward, I am sure he has support (from India),” he had said in October.

Sharif, on the other hand, insists that Khan’s “fake regime” is jeopardising the country’s security and that Pakistan cannot think of prospering under the “hijacked democracy”.

“They have pushed the country into unprecedented inflation and unemployment, time has come to get freedom from this selected set-up,” the former premier said during the Lahore PDM jalsa last week.

While the role of ‘selectors’ (Pakistan Army) is known to everyone for decades now, Sharif coming out to openly criticise the country’s military establishment has also sowed seeds of doubts in some PDM alliance partners.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari has in the past few weeks distanced himself from Sharif’s anti-army tirade.

“We avoid such comments during public gatherings. No one person can be held responsible for bringing Imran Khan to power,” Bhutto had said in an interview to the BBC.

The success of planned ‘long march’ to Islamabad by PDM in early 2021 and the realisation of the ultimate goal of ousting the Imran Khan government very much depends on the opposition parties sticking together next year.

“Nawaz and Maryam Sharif have emerged as popular proponents of a hard line, compelling the traditional pro-Miltablishment rank and file of the party to reluctantly fall in line, but with all their misgivings intact. Now the PPP has thrown a spanner in the works: it doesn’t want to antagonise the Miltablishment by joining in long marches or resigning from the Assemblies. It fears losing its last stronghold in Sindh in the here and now without guarantees of better national prospects later,” noted Pakistani journalist Najam Sethi wrote in The Friday Times.

Pushed on the backfoot, the ‘kaptaan’ of ‘naya Pakistan’ is facing a long period of struggle ahead.

He would have just earned some brownie points from his boss Bajwa yesterday for announcing to the world that the army chief is tolerating the likes of Sharif “for the sake of democracy”.

(This content is being carried under an arrangement with indianarrative.com)

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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