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Imran Khan justifies remarks on the appointment of new Army chief

Chairman PTI Imran Khan addressed a political rally in Peshawar on Tuesday, where he clarified his controversial statement regarding the appointment of new Army Chief, while rejecting the negative propaganda on media.

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“The government of thieves have been imposed on us through a conspiracy by the US to weaken our nation” Imran Khan said while addressing a political rally in Peshawar on Tuesday. He said the PDM has realized that they cannot defeat him politically, any elections will result in their loss, hence they are conspiring to get him disqualified. Furthermore, he said, the PDM is trying to pit the largest political party of Pakistan—PTI, against the Army and the judiciary through propaganda.

Clarifying his controversial remarks, Former Prime Minister Imran Khan said that he had just suggested that the Army Chief should be selected on merit. “Well-wisher of any institution would suggest that appointments be made on merit”, he said. “I said that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari should not select the new Army Chief”, Imran Khan went on to clarify his statement.

Read More: Imran Khan faces heat for controversial remarks on COAS appointment

Justifying his statement, Imran Khan said that Nawaz Sharif is a culprit involved in corruption of billions of rupees, who fled the country on false pretext, hence he should not be able to select the new Army Chief. Imran Khan criticized Nawaz Sharif for secret meetings with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the past, while also criticizing Zardari for seeking help from the US against Pakistan Army during his government. Addressing the public, Imran Khan asked whether Nawaz Sharif and Zardari, whose assets and wealth are outside Pakistan, should be allowed to select an Army Chief.

Recent remarks of Imran Khan regarding the appointment of new Army chief spurred a controversy in the political discourse of Pakistan, as not only political opponents of Khan, but also the judiciary and ISPR condemned the “defamatory and uncalled for statement” of the former Prime Minister.

Read More: ISPR condemns the statement of Imran Khan, PTI offers clarifications

During his address in Peshawar, Imran Khan also revised the whole chain of events that led to the fall of his government. Starting from the diplomatic cipher received from Pakistan’s ambassador in the US in which Donald Lu ‘threatened’ that Pakistan would suffer if Imran Khan stays in power, to the turncoat MNAs and MPAs who switched their loyalties in the no-confidence motion, Imran Khan recalled the whole ‘conspiracy’ through which he was ousted.

Imran Khan played a clip of Nawaz Sharif in which he can be heard saying that when the officers and soldiers of Pakistan Army follow the orders of a single person with self-vested interests, they leave the nation at the mercy of violators of constitution. Similarly, Imran Khan also played clips of Maryam Nawaz purportedly making statements against Army and its senior leadership. In another clip, Maulana Fazlur-Rehman can be heard clearly accusing the generals of Pakistan Army of serving Israel, Maulana went so far as to threaten the Army of an Afghanistan-like situation in Pakistan.

Imran Khan went on to play clips of Asif Ali Zardar and Ayaz Sadiq, both of whom used threatening or derogatory language against the senior leadership of Pakistan Army. He also played clips of senior leaders of PDM in which they can be heard clearly criticizing the judiciary.

Imran Khan rubbished the claims that he is against the Army saying that the strengthening of institutions will lead to strengthening of the country. He said while the whole Muslim world is facing unrest, Pakistan is safe due to a strong Army.

Imran Khan said that his party indulge only in constructive criticism for the sake of betterment of institutions, he pledged to work for strengthening the institutions. Imran Khan also played his own clip in which he can be heard urging the people to not criticize the army, saying that the country needs the army more than it needs Imran Khan.

Read More: Imran Khan praises IHC for safeguarding freedom of press

“26 years ago, when I started politics I called it a movement for justice (Tehreek-e-Insaaf), we took a stand for an independent judiciary, I was the only political leader to face jail for independence of judiciary, boycotted the 2008 elections for the judiciary, after coming into power we established a Judicial Complex in Islamabad—first in the last fifty years”, Imran Khan listed his efforts for the independence and betterment of judiciary.  He said all these efforts were inspired by his belief that any society cannot prosper without the rule of law, “that’s why we have always respected our judiciary”.

Imran Khan said that the reason he criticized Magistrate Zeba was the ‘custodial torture’ of Shahbaz Gill, my intention was not to threaten her.

Imran Khan faces terrorism charges for threatening the police and magistrate of the district and sessions court of Islamabad.

Read More: IHC disappointed with Imran Khan’s response in contempt case

Imran Khan, while comparing the economic performance of his government with the incumbent government, said that while the economy was growing at a great pace during PTI government, it is now contacting. “Today, the economy is shrinking, unemployment if increasing, factories are shutting and agricultural output is decreasing”, he pointed out the economic woes faced by Pakistan.

Lastly, Imran Khan urged the whole nation to stay prepared to come out against the ‘imported government’ on his call. “We have to win this struggle for the true freedom of our country”, he said. He indicated another possible long-march towards Islamabad to rid the country of the ‘imported government’.

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