Imran wants Gen Bajwa to stay until next elections

Reiterates call for early elections, warns of bringing entire nation on the roads

Former prime minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan on Monday, raising a question over the appointment of the new army chief by those with “just 85 seats”, said that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa should be given extension until the new government was elected.

Talking to a private news channel, the former premier said his party still had the option of dissolving the provincial assemblies, besides a few other ideas, and would push the federal government while staying within the constitution.

He said that on one hand a message was being conveyed that everyone should work together, while on the other hand his party was being pushed to the wall. “I can bring the whole nation on the roads,” he said.

Imran said that the country was passing through a difficult phase and he decided to stage a peaceful protest and go home, adding that the elections could be delayed by around two months. “How can a fugitive with just 85 seats appoint a new army chief?” he asked, adding that the opponents could appoint a new army chief if they win the election and he would have no problem.

The PTI chairman said that the floods had wreaked havoc in the country and torrential rains caused flooding from the Koh-e-Suleiman. “The accumulated floodwater in Sindh has ruined the paddy crop, which could lead to a food crisis in the future,” he said, adding that the nation would have to help the flood victims. He said Pakistan needed internal and external aid at this juncture as not a single dam had been constructed in the past 50 years. He recalled that construction work on 10 dams had been started during his government.

“Climate change is causing destruction all over the world. That is why our government started the Billion Tree Tsunami,” he said, adding that the old forests in the country were destroyed, so 10 billion trees were necessary.

Imran said that a conspiracy was hatched to topple his government when the country was progressing, adding that he had warned those who had the power. “We said that no one would be able to manage the economy in case of instability at that time,” he said. “They had no plan to manage the economy… these people just wanted to get rid of their cases,” he said, referring to the current rulers and their coalition partners.

“We are benefiting from every effort of the government… I have not seen such cruelty, fascism … people are being intimidated, people are getting calls from anonymous numbers, cable operators were threatened in the telethon,” he said. “My popularity is increasing, but I am afraid of economic conditions.”

While reiterating his call for early polls, the PTI chief said the best option was to hold fresh elections in the country to bring political stability.