Imran, Elahi adrift on Bajwa role in no-trust

Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan and his major ally in Punjab, Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi appeared drifting further away from each other on Sunday on the role of the then army chief, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa during the no-confidence motion that Imran Khan lost in April.

In recent media interviews, former prime minister Imran accused the now-retired Gen Bajwa of playing a “double game” against his government. However, hours later, Chief Minister Elahi said that the then army chief had nudged his Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) towards the PTI in March this year.

The comments of Elahi in an interview with a private TV channel endorsed the statement of his son, Moonis Elahi, that Gen Bajwa had suggested that his PML-Q should support the PTI during the no-confidence motion against Imran Khan.

Elahi said that Gen Bajwa had told him that going with Imran was a better option after he shared his reservations about joining the then opposition alliance, the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), because he “did not trust the Sharif family”.

Elahi also said that he was wary of accepting the offer from then opposition led by the Sharif family to become the Punjab chief minister in return for supporting the no-confidence motion. “I knew that they [Sharif] would not let me continue [as chief minister] as they have betrayed me in the past,” he remarked.

“God changed our path in the last moments and sent Bajwa Sahib to show us the way. When I expressed my concerns about the Sharifs and that I don’t trust them then Bajwa sahib said, ‘You should proceed carefully and the path going towards Imran is better for you and your friends’,” Elahi told the interviewer.

Similar remarks were given by Moonis Elahi in an interview last week. Gen (retd) Bajwa showed him “the right path” to support the PTI, Moonis Elahi had said. The chief minister admitted that Moonis played a major role in convincing him for supporting the PTI instead of joining the PDM.

Days after his son Moonis Elahi made a similar statement, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi on Sunday said that former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa had nudged the PML-Q to support the PTI and former prime minister Imran Khan.

In the interview aired on last Thursday, Moonis detested a bashing campaign against Gen Bajwa by “a certain section on social media” without any reason. On this, he added, he had disagreement with the PTI and anyone else speaking against the retired army chief.

Just days after Moonis’s interview, former prime minister Imran repeated his allegations against Bajwa, accusing the former army chief of playing a double game against his government. He said that it was possible that Pervaiz Elahi was told to go to the PTI and his brother Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain was told to go to the PDM.

“Moonis was asked to support Imran Khan, while the other one [Shujaat] was asked to go to PML-N [Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz],” Imran said when asked to comment on the statement of Moonis Elahi. Gen Bajwa was playing a double game … even PTI’s different men were being given different messages,” he added.

Imran was removed from power via then opposition’s no-confidence motion in April this year. Initially, it appeared that the PML-Q had decided to side with the PDM against Imran, however, all of a sudden Elahi changed course and joined Imran’s camp.

The PTI as promised made Elahi the chief minister of Punjab after a legal battle to remove Hamza Shahbaz from power. Hamza was elected the chief minister after a number of PTI dissident lawmakers had voted for him. The Supreme Court later decided that votes of the dissident members would not be counted.

In the interview, Chief Minister Elahi also said that he was ready to dissolve Punjab Assembly on Imran Khan’s call. However, he added, he had given the advice to wait until March. “This is a good opportunity for the opposition to hold negotiations,” he added.

December 5, 2022


Bajwa nudged PML-Q to support Imran: Parvez Elahi

LAHORE: Days after his son Moonis Elahi made a similar statement, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi on Sunday said that former army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa had nudged the PML-Q to support PTI Chairman Imran Khan.

Mr Elahi’s remarks come on the heels of Imran Khan’s accusation a day earlier that Gen Bajwa was playing a “double game”. In an interview to Bol News on Saturday, Mr Khan said he had committed a “big mistake” by granting Gen Bajwa an extension and accused the former army chief of engaging in “double games”, double speak, mixed messages and more. He alleged that Gen Bajwa had denied everything when asked about the establishment’s contact with the then opposition.

However, Mr Elahi, while speaking during an interview with Bol News programme Tajzia on Sunday, appeared less confident about early polls.

The CM acknowledged that “there is no system available under which we call for general elections and they happen before time”.

He further said that the “(PDM government) has its tenure until next August and [it is to be seen] how prudently it will tread in these critical times”.

“It will be good if general elections are held early but there is a need that they (PDM government) should agree and even bigger issue is that the chief election commissioner is playing as Imran Khan’s rival,” he added.

In reply to a question, the chief minister said that Moonis Elahi had also expressed a desire to side with PTI. “God changed our path in the last moments and sent Bajwa sahib to show us the way. When I expressed my concerns about the Sharifs and told him that I don’t trust them then Bajwa sahib said, ‘You should proceed carefully and the path going towards Imran is better for you and your friends,’” Mr Elahi claimed without specifying if his interaction with the former COAS occurred prior to the no-confidence move against then PM Imran Khan or at the time of the Punjab chief minister’s election.

Notwithstanding Mr Elahi’s take on the timing of the elections, Mr Khan is campaigning and pushing the PDM government to call early elections and has lately hurled clear warning that he will be dissolving Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies and take 66 per cent of Pakistan to the polls. On Saturday, he gave the PDM government an ultimatum of four to five days to decide whether it agrees to dissolve all assemblies and call general elections maximum by the end of March next.

About the new army set-up, the chief minister said the institution was now openly saying it would not interfere in politics and instead ensure the elections are held in a free and fair manner. “Holding of free and fair elections will give us an edge because the Punjab government has delivered by taking massive measures for the betterment of the people of Punjab.

“We are having smooth and cordial relations with the army since 1983 as well as judiciary,” he said.

The chief minister said the Sharifs were not trustworthy and they had “ditched” him for at least five times as well as different former army chiefs, including Gen Musharraf and Gen Jahangir Karamat. He said Imran Khan was the only leader who had created fear in Sharifs.

‘Imran’s big mistake’

In his interview on Saturday, Mr Khan said he had committed a “big mistake” by granting Gen Bajwa an extension. He said extensions should not be given in the military but the “situation was otherwise and they had no option”.

He accused the former army chief of engaging in “double games”, double speak, mixed messages and more, adding that Gen Bajwa had denied everything when asked about the establishment’s contact with the then opposition.

When asked on claims by Moonis Elahi that they had supported PTI on the directives of Gen Bajwa during the no-trust motion, Mr Khan replied it was his greatest weakness to trust Gen Bajwa. “We received different signals but they claimed to be neutral and assured they wanted continuity,” he said.

He said instructions were sent that bringing his government down will lead to economic instability. Instead, he claimed, the PTI’s allies told him that a message was received “to switch over to the other side.”

Mr Khan recalled that he eventually sent a message [to Bajwa] that he will go to the public and seek their support. “I asked them on which side they were. I told them that if they were on the other side, then I will have a different strategy,” he added.

Regarding the situation of PTI Senator Azam Swati, Mr Khan said he was disappointed that no action was taken by the court. He said judiciary should look at the injustice and take notice as people have trust in them.

He said they had approached the Supreme Court regarding the case of Azam Swati, Arshad Sharif’s murder and assassination attack on him.

Message to establishment

Mr Khan said a message has been sent to the new military establishment and President Alvi has delivered their message. “What happened in the past seven months? Did the party crash? Today we have such support that no other party ever enjoyed in history. Even Bhutto didn’t have the kind of support we have today,” he claimed.

He reiterated that CM Elahi had given him the authority to dissolve the assembly. However, he did not answer whether a written summary had been given to him by the chief minister.

When asked about attempts by PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari to control the situations, he said the “game” is no longer in the hands of Zardari as Chaudhry Parvez Elahi stood with the PTI.

December 5, 2022


Gen Bajwa told us to support Imran, claims Moonis Elahi

Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader and Punjab chief minister’s son Moonis Elahi has claimed that his party had been advised by former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa to support Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) in the no-confidence motion that ultimately led to former premier Imran Khan’s ouster.

Grueling political uncertainty had ended around midnight when the daylong session of the lower house of parliament convened on April 9 to vote on the no-confidence motion culminated with the dismissal of Imran Khan, the 22nd prime minister of Pakistan, who became the first chief executive to be removed from office after losing majority in the National Assembly.


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Read PTI ‘willing’ to talk to federal govt on next elections

Speaking on a private TV channel, Moonis Elahi revealed that “there has not been any contact with the new military leadership” however, he added that the former COAS “had turned the tides in favour of PTI”.

“This is my point of contention with PTI and anyone who calls him a traitor,” he continued, “he was seen as perfectly fine when he was going in their support and now he is called a turncoat”.

“I have offered the PTI to come on TV and prove to me that he [Bajwa] is a traitor and I will show you just how much the man did for you.”

He went on to claim that there was “no doubt” about it that “the man had gone all out for you [PTI]”; but the minute he “removed himself then he became the bad guy”.

“If he was the bad guy, he would have never told me to support Imran Khan,” Moonis said.

“When the decision was being taken on which way we have to go, we had received offers from both sides — Mian sahiban [PML-N leadership], the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement), as well as the PTI. Clearly, my inclinations rested towards the PTI, everyone knows that.”

Read More PTI MPAs await Imran’s signal to quit

“Then I had a discussion with my father and my father had a conversation with them [the military establishment] and at that time they said ‘my wish is that you go and side with them [PTI]’. Had the man [Gen Bajwa] been so bad, if he was against Khan sahib or PTI, why would he tell us to support that side at that critical juncture?”

“I don’t buy it that he is against PTI,” Moonis added.

Widening cracks in the PML-Q – and the Chaudhry household – had appeared to become more pronounced at the time after two of its key faces were found divided on political lines in the National Assembly.

The simmering tensions, which had been reportedly bubbling for months, turned into an all-out opposition when the PML-Q nominated Chaudhry Hussain Elahi as the leader of the opposition in NA – just hours after the party president Chaudhry Shujaat’s son Chaudhry Salik Hussain was inducted in the cabinet of PM Shehbaz Sharif.

The party now holds seats in both the treasury and opposition benches, fuelling speculations that the intra-party chasms have turned irredeemably sour.

‘A little bit of foul play’

Reflecting on the alleged foreign conspiracy that the PTI claims was behind Imran’s ouster, Moonis distanced himself from the narrative saying he “never saw the documents” as he was “not part of the foreign ministry” but said, “there was some foul play for sure from all sides”.

It may be noted here that Imran has long termed the no-confidence motion against him a “huge foreign conspiracy against Pakistan”.

Also Read Imran slammed for using Quaid-i-Azam’s name for ‘nefarious agenda’

Pleading both the president and the chief justice of Pakistan to take “immediate action”, the ousted premier claimed that in the proceedings of its last cabinet meeting, his government had concluded that the cipher “clearly reflected a regime change conspiracy,” adding that the “shifting allegiances” of the allied parties and the “purchase of loyalties of PTI members” was suspect.

Prior to his retirement, General Bajwa had said he was certain that the “political quarantine of the armed forces” will bode well for the country in the long term.

“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. 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,” he had said in an exclusive interview with Gulf News.

The ‘apolitical’ stance has often been questioned by the PTI chief and the party’s senior leadership.

During his interview, however, Moonis said that he “buys” the new stance of the military leadership to remain apolitical “because there is no interference or influence on us [Government of Punjab] by them”.

Also Read Bilawal dares Imran to quit assemblies

He also claimed that the reason an FIR could not be registered against the assassination attempt on the former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan as per his version was not because of any pressure from the ‘establishment’ but because “we [the Punjab government] had told them that this job will not be done this way” because “if you go and name a person of an institution then the process will be stopped anyway, without any interference”.

“This is how the system has been made,” he explained, “whether it is good or bad, it exists”.

“We asked the PTI leadership to take charge and give us an SHO from a village of their constituency and we will have him appointed [to register the FIR],” Moonis said adding that “nobody gave us one [SHO]”.

“The blame was being placed on us that PML-Q is not doing it [FIR], so we gave them the solution,” he added.

Despite all disagreements with the PTI however, the PML-Q leader reiterated his party’s decision to stand with Imran and dissolve the Punjab Assembly at Imran’s request.

December 2, 2022


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