Former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa has a lot to tell about Imran Khan, his rise and rise in politics and how he ran his government.
Quoting sources close to General Bajwa, The News said that the ex-army chief could not respond in public to what PTI chairman alleges against him because of some codal limitations but it is insisted what Khan mostly says about Bajwa is untrue.
Bajwa is now the focused target of Imran who not only sees him as the sole reason for all his failures in the government but also alleges that the general had removed his government as part of a US conspiracy.
While Imran says it was the former army chief who was controlling the NAB and deciding the arrest and release of politicians, the other side insists that the PTI chief during his premiership was paranoid towards his opposition and wanted to see all his key opponents behind bars.
The sources said when General (retd) Bajwa will speak, he would have no different tale to tell than what the former DG FIA Bashir Memon had alleged about the-then prime minister Imran.
Like Bashir Memon, who had alleged to have been pressurised by the-then prime minister to arrest his opponents, according to the sources the former premier had also been asking General (retd) Bajwa to get a number of the-then opposition politicians arrested.
The sources said that when Bajwa said how he could do it, Imran had referred to General Musharraf and his way of dealing with his political opponents during his rule. On this, Bajwa had reportedly told Imran that Musharraf was a dictator. Bajwa told him to give order in writing what he desired. Imran, however, did not do it.
The sources allege that the NAB was controlled and managed by the-then prime minister through a duo, Barrister Shehzad Akbar and a key spymaster.
They claimed that when new DG ISI called on Imran, the latter asked the spymaster about the major problem of Pakistan. Imran was told that “it’s the economy.” But Imran responded: “No, it’s the opposition”.
On one occasion in the presence of several PTI ministers, the sources said, Bajwa reportedly warned Imran against his wish of fixing all his opponents as well as many of his own party leaders. The sources confirmed that Bajwa had been advising the former prime minister to focus on economy instead of his opposition.
During his government, Imran himself has been heard complaining about the fear of NAB and its negative impact on economy and civilian bureaucracy. But his urge to fix the opposition did not let him reform the NAB.
General Bajwa is mostly blamed for keenly pursuing what is generally referred to as “Imran Khan project.”
It is alleged by Imran’s opponents and many media commentators that the establishment initiated supporting Imran Khan almost a decade back.
PTI’s 2014 sit-in was also alleged to have been a part of the Imran Khan project, which reportedly saw its height in 2017 and 2018. The 2018 elections were considered as massively “managed” and “engineered” in favour of Imran.
During Imran Khan’s tenure, the establishment supported him like never before; and being prime minister, he repeatedly admitted it and used to praise General Bajwa as the best army chief.
Imran gave three years extension to Gen Bajwa, had offered another extension in March this year to save his government and later even suggested in October 2022 to let Bajwa continue till the holding of next general elections and formation of a new elected government.
General (R) Bajwa, shortly before his retirement, admitted that the establishment had made mistakes in the past. He had disclosed that as an institution, the Army decided in February 2021 to get apolitical.