Former Pakistan Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa has once again increased the difficulties of former Prime Minister Imran Khan. Months ago, Pakistan’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir briefed Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman Imran Khan about the activities of his wife Bushra Bibi and her close friend Farah Khan. A media report said that Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa had handed over a dossier to Khan about the alleged corrupt practices of former Punjab Chief Ministers Usman Buzdar and Ahsan Gujar. The report said that former Prime Minister Imran then chose to remain silent instead of taking action against the accused Chief Minister and Farah Khan’s husband Gujar.
Sources said that when General Bajwa shared the evidence with Khan, he had said that Bujdar was not only incompetent, but he and his family were involved in corruption along with Gujar. General Bajwa asked Imran Khan not to ask where the corruption money went. The source said the former army chief told the PTI chief, “Please don’t ask me further, as you will be embarrassed.” According to Pakistani media reports, Imran Khan did not inquire further. When General Munir as DG of ISI decided to share his information with Imran Khan, he first consulted General Bajwa.
Initially, it was decided that they both would hold a meeting with Imran Khan and share the evidence with him and request him to keep his family away from a certain property tycoon. However, after General Bajwa visited, General Asim briefed Khan on the details in his absence. According to reports, Imran Khan was furious and complained to General Bajwa when he returned. The former prime minister was determined to remove General Asim from office at all costs. Subsequently, General Munir was removed from the post just eight months after his appointment as Director General of ISI, according to the report. Didn’t even wait a working day to make the announcement.
Imran wanted the arrest of political opponents
Reports said that instead of putting his own house in order, Imran Khan was also stressing on the role of the army in arresting his political opponents and reportedly often cited the example of late President Pervez Musharraf. General Asim recommended a working relationship with political opponents for the smooth functioning of the government. However, reining in the opposition was Imran Khan’s top most concern. When he appointed Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed as Director General of ISI, the arrests of PML-N and PPP leaders began at the same time. Meanwhile, the PTI chief has managed to get a clean chit from the NAB for his ministers (Shaukat Tarin and Parvez Khattak) and his principal secretary (Azam Khan) through Lt Gen Faiz.
Imran Khan’s hold on the accountability mechanism weakened again after the exit of Lt Gen Faiz from the ISI. The former prime minister tried to persuade Gen Faiza’s successor, current ISI DG Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum. In an interview conducted with three lieutenant generals to select the new ISI chief, Imran Khan was asked what he felt was the biggest issue in Pakistan. Lt Gen Anjum is said to have cited the economy as the biggest issue. Imran Khan corrected him. In his view, the opposition was Pakistan’s biggest issue and should be dealt with sternly.