"It matters to Sharifs, Zardari...but not to me": Imran Khan on next Pak army chief
In an exclusive conversation with Dawn, Khan said all going was going between him and the establishment until his government failed to convict those he alleged of corruption and his party refused to appoint their preferred choice of Punjab chief minister.
As the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf continues to engage in a showdown with all quarters of the country's establishment, PTI chief Imran Khan has said that it does not matter to him who becomes the next army chief of the country after the retirement of General Qamar Javed Bajwa later this month, if the decision is taken on merit. In an exclusive conversation with Dawn, former Pakistan prime minister Khan said all was going well between him and the establishment until his government failed to convict those he accused of corruption and his party refused to appoint their preferred choice of Punjab chief minister.
"The army chief wanted me to have Aleem Khan [as CM Punjab] and I wouldn't. Because not only were there NAB cases against him, he had occupied and sold land worth millions belonging to the government," he claimed. The cricketer-turned-politician said he wished to bring rule of law in the country with the help of the all-powerful army. Khan said doesn't know the internal politics of the army but their relationship was going well.
"Later, I discovered there was a big issue going on about the next army chief. I had never ever thought about who the army chief would be in November -- why would I care, if it's on merit? It should be the best person. It matters to the Sharifs and Zardari... but not to me," the PTI chief said in the Dawn interview. 70-year-old Khan has been embroiled in political tussle with the coalition government since his ouster in April. His war of words with the country's establishment has only gotten worse, following the assassination attempt on him this month.
On Sunday, Pakistan President Arif Alvi, who belongs to Imran's party, talked about his 'backdoor' efforts to reach out to all political players as well as the powers that be to find a workable solution. "Backdoor talks are underway with the institutions that matter to sort out the differences (among the players). If the talks succeed, they will be in the public domain. I am playing the role of a mediator as the supreme commander of the armed forces, but I am not a broker," he was quoted as saying by Dawn.
Alvi also added that he was also playing his role in defusing tensions between the institution and party chief Imran Khan. Earlier, Khan said the Pakistan Army can play a constructive role in his future plans for Pakistan.
In an apparent dig at the country's army, Khan said that even though the people give responsibility to the elected government, the authority lies somewhere else "The army can play a constructive role in my future plans for Pakistan," he told British daily The Financial Times. "But it has to be that balance. You cannot have an elected government which has the responsibility given by the people, while the authority lies somewhere else." (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)