Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has said that he and his party will be the first ones to defend General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa if anything further is said against the former army chief.

The statement came during Parvez’s unofficial conversation with journalists when he referred to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s criticism of the former army chief in Saturday’s address to party workers.

“I felt very bad when Khan was speaking against Gen (retd) Bajwa,” Parvez said adding that the former army chief was a “benefactor” and nothing should be said against benefactors.

“Gen (retd) Bajwa gave many favours to him [Khan] therefore the favours shouldn’t be forgotten,” the Punjab CM reminded the PTI chief.

“I told [PTI Chairman Imran] Khan sahab three months ago that Bajwa sahab is ours, yours and PTI’s mohsin (benefactor) so fear God and don’t speak against him.”

He said he had reiterated the same in his meeting with the PTI chief a day ago at Imran’s Zaman Park residence. “He (Imran) replied: ‘I’ve received many requests [not to speak against Bajwa],’ so I said: ‘Then accept them,’” Elahi added.

Regarding Imran’s subsequent announcement of the date for dissolving the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies with the two chief ministers at his side, during which he criticised the former army chief again, Elahi said: “The injustice that Imran Khan did is that making us sit beside him, he criticised Bajwa sahab in front of me.”

He said that they are allies of PTI instead of opponents but they can’t forget the favours of their “benefactors”.

The Punjab chief minister said that Khan did not allow former federal minister Moonis Elahi to sit with him but Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) backed Imran Khan.

“We agreed immediately when Imran Khan asked to dissolve [Punjab] Assembly,” he added.

Since Gen Bajwa’s retirement, Imran has increasingly turned his criticism towards the former army chief and levelled a series of allegations against him.

In his 50-minute speech a day ago, the former prime minister continued chiding former army chief Bajwa for ditching him as “he was neither allowing him to proceed against the corrupt nor letting him know that he was playing a double game and getting PML-N and its allies to bring in the government through conspiracy”.

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