Imran’s COAS only if incumbent govt removed: Marriyum

Tells PTI chief by-poll win not a license to ‘launch assault’ on Islamabad

Minister for Information and Broadcasting Marriyum Aurangzeb Monday said PTI chief Imran Khan had no comparison with Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif, who had appointed six army chiefs while holding the country’s chief executive office thrice.

“Imran Khan says Nawaz Sharif cannot appoint the army chief in total contrast to the fact that the latter had appointed six army chiefs. Ironically, Imran Khan himself has been begging, beseeching and touching feet (of others) for one army chief’s appointment though he is not that much lucky,” she said while addressing a news conference. Marriyum said Imran Khan can appoint the army chief only by removing the incumbent government in a constitutional way, but he did not have the required numbers for the purpose. Nawaz Sharif was constitutionally empowered to appoint the army chiefs, while “liar and thief” Imran Khan, who had received foreign funding and traded off the national interests for diamonds and lands, was not entitled to the same, she added. Marriyum alleged that Imran Khan launched a malicious campaign against the state institutions to achieve his ulterior motives and even did not spare the martyrs of Pakistan Army who lost their lives while assisting the people in the flood-hit areas.

He just wanted to make the army chief’s appointment controversial and for that reason, he gave mutiny calls in the rank and file of the Pakistan Army, she claimed. She said Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif enjoyed the majority in the National Assembly having the support of its 176 parliamentarians and he would appoint the new army chief in accordance with the law and Constitution. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), she said, had lost two more seats in the National Assembly after the by-election. Technically, the PTI incurred the loss of eight seats as the resignation of Imran Khan (from NA) had not yet been accepted. The minister said the number of government’s votes had increased to 176  in the National Assembly from 172 after the by-election. Imran Khan’s threats and bullying would not work as he could only form his government by removing the incumbent one in a constitutional way, which was an impossible task, she added.

She said Imran Khan could not compete with Nawaz Sharif who had strengthened the national security, built motorways across the country, added 14,000 megawatts of electricity, increased the economic growth rate to 6 per cent and kept inflation under control during his all government tenures. Imran Khan, she said, wanted the entire nation to forget his “draconian” and “inept” four-year rule which was marred by economic and moral bankruptcy, corruption, inflation, poverty, unemployment, political victimization, and human rights violations.

“After listening to Imran Khan’s press conference today, I am convinced that he has been suffering from the disease of ‘political Alzheimer’ as he, himself, has forgotten that it was he who remained imposed on the country for the four years,” she maintained. The minister alleged that Imran Khan was a “foreign funded Fitna”, who had gone berserk to regain power, and bent upon creating chaos and anarchy in the country. She reminded Imran Khan that he was rejected by the people in Multan and Karachi by-elections and had not got right to launch an assault on the Federal Capital by winning elsewhere.

The minister said that she was amazed to note that Imran Khan did not demand the resignation of chief election commissioner or malign the state institutions in today’s presser.  He resorted to attack the institutions and their heads when the decisions were given against him, and remained silent on getting favourable verdicts, she added. She said Imran Khan was blaming the current government for the country’s economic turmoil, but, in fact, it was he who had defaulted Pakistan by laundering ill-gotten money abroad through his front persons.

Imran Khan had been ruling Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for the last ten years, but he failed to build even a single university or hospital anywhere in the province, she said, adding the PTI chief inaugurated those projects in Punjab which were completed by Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif while being the chief minister of the province. She accused Imran Khan of taking historic loans of Rs 25,000 billion during his tenure. He did visit every country carrying a begging bowl, and even served as a driver for heads of other countries, but in vain, she added.

The minister said Imran Khan had damaged the country’s relations with friendly countries and that was all part of his plan,  aimed at weakening Pakistan in exchange of the funding he received from the enemies.

Imran Khan said he would write a letter to the Human Rights Watch for highlighting the alleged torture on Senator Azam Swati, but he ironically he did not reach out to those organizations when Shehbaz Sharif, Maryam Nawaz, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Miftah Ismail and other PML-N leaders were illegally arrested during his government’s tenure, she stated. The minister said Imran Khan had falsely implicated Rana Sanaullah in a drugs case, put the PML-N leaders in the death cells and even did not spare to the female members of their families. Marriyum said the Human Rights Watch declared Imran Khan a predator for the journalists’ community as he sent Irfan Siddiqui to jail, off air the TV programmes of Hamid Mir and Talat Hussain and forced different news organizations to fire those journalists who raised voice against his tyrannies.   She said the PTI chief could only cite the name of Imran Riaz Khan for custodial torture, who was a political worker of his own party.

Marriyum said Imran Khan kept hostage Tayyba Gul in the Prime Minister’s House to blackmail the then chairman of NAB, and locked up head of the FIA in a washroom to force him file corruption cases against his political opponents. She said the person who was out on roads to achieve so-called ‘Haqeeqi Azadi’, himself was holding dialogues through back channels and for that purpose, he even made the President’s Office controversial.   “Hold dialogue in front of public instead of opting for the backdoor channels,” she asked Imran Khan while castigating him over his duplicity and hypocrisy.  To a query, she said Imran Khan could only demand election if he had majority in the Parliament. The election would be held on time and the incumbent government would complete its tenure.

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