Punjab CM vows will be first to defend Bajwa if attack continues, warns PTI chief to not ‘bite hand that feeds you’
LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi on Sunday denounced Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s comments targeting former chief of army staff (COAS) General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa.
“I was very offended when Imran Khan spoke against Gen Retd Bajwa,” said Pervaiz Elahi adding that “Bajwa sahib is our benefactor and one should not speak against their benefactors.”
Speaking informally with journalists, the CM also held that the former army chief has “done a lot” for the PTI chief and “favours should not be forgotten”.
“If there is any further talk against Gen (retd) Bajwa, then my party and I will be the first ones to defend him,” he warned.
“General [retd] Faiz Hamid committed many abuses,” he regretted as he alleged that the former military official had “tried to put us behind bars” and that he was “against us”.
Pervaiz Elahi also revealed that he had taken the matter up with the ex-COAS when he was in office and that Gen (retd) Faiz had then informed that the alleged political persecution had been ordered by Imran Khan.
“Imran Khan wouldn’t even let Moonis [Elahi] sit next to him,” he continued, “but we fully supported Imran despite that”.
“When Imran Khan told us to dissolve the [Punjab] Assembly, then we had agreed straight away,” he added stressing that “we are not against Imran Khan or the PTI, we stand with them; but we cannot bite the hand that feeds us”.
‘Gen Bajwa conspired against my govt’
The former prime minister, who was ousted through a parliamentary revolt earlier this year, during his address at a rally at Lahore’s Liberty Chowk yesterday had said that former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa was behind the conspiracy to oust his government through the no-confidence motion.
“Question is who was responsible? One man was responsible and his name is Gen Bajwa. I did not use to take his name because he was the army chief. We did not want the army to be badmouthed. We want a strong army,” he said.
Imran Khan said that Gen Bajwa was behind the conspiracy. “They [the establishment] thought Dar and Shehbaz were some kind of geniuses that they will run [the] government better than us,” he added.
After my government fell, Imran continued, the masses supported the PTI. “Our popularity increased even more after the no-confidence motion. Despite all efforts, they lost by-elections,” he added.
Addressing the audio leaks featuring him, Imran said that his phone was tapped when he was the prime minister in violation of the Official Secrets Act. “Where does this happen? If I am talking to my principal secretary then that was leaked.”
Imran claimed that according to an opinion poll, 70 per cent of the populace was demanding a fresh election – a fact he had tried to drive home through his second long march.
He went on to lash out at the incumbent rulers over what he called atrocities on his party, saying that even during General (retd) Pervaiz Musharraf’s martial law, he had not witnessed such violence.
“They committed atrocities on us. They put me in jail during Musharraf’s regime but I never witnessed violence I saw during this tenure,” he claimed.
Imran said that their social media workers were picked and after giving them a beating, they were released the next day.
He said that PTI leader Senator Azam Swati was stripped naked and beaten just because of one tweet. “All that because of a tweet which had truth in it? Everyone knows NRO-2 was given by General Bajwa.”
Imran said that when he was the premier, he used to ask General Bajwa to take action against the “thieves” as National Accountability Bureau (NAB) was under him. “He used to say to me forget about accountability and fix the economy. How can Pakistan progress if you let these dacoits go scot-free? No society can progress until there is a rule of law. The big thieves destroy a country, not the small ones,” he remarked.
“As prime minister, I will tell the public how you saved people,” he told the participants.
‘Had an inkling about conspiracy year ago’
The former prime minister said that he foresaw that a conspiracy was being plotted against him a year ago before it was executed and Shehbaz’s name was popping up for the premier’s post despite him having corruption cases worth Rs16 billion against his name.
“Whenever I used to ask General Bajwa, he used to say we will never do it [accountability] because we want continuity,” he said.
“General Bajwa used to say they are corrupt but now he is fine with them. Are we cattle? Wherever you take us we will go,” he added.
“When I was leaving in March, I had a security threat to my life. I knew they will label it [attempt at his life] as religious extremism. I salute Bushra Bibi who used to say to me that this is jihad and you should go out. When I will be able to walk, I will be on the streets again. It is jihad for me and I will never stop,” Imran maintained.