Imran Khan admits Qamar Bajwa’s extension was a ‘mistake’

LAHORE: Former Prime Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has invited the ruling coalition to hold talks over date of general election. He said that extension of Qamar Bajwa was my biggest mistake in politics as a prime minister, noting that his party would only wait till March, Daily News Publisher reported on Sunday.

Speaking to a private news channel, the former premier said that if the incumbent government is ready to hold elections by the end of March, he would not dissolve Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies.

However, he said, his party won’t agree on a date after March and assemblies will be dissolved this month [December] if the government disagrees.

“We are ready to hold negotiations over date of general elections,” the former prime minister said, citing the devastating economic situation as the reason behind PTI’s constant demand.

He noted that the country’s debt was constantly rising while the economy was deteriorating. “The incumbent rules will run away in the end and the citizens will suffer,” he claimed.

Imran Khan warned that he would dissolve Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa assemblies if the government refuses to hold elections in March.

Speaking of the dissolution of assemblies, the PTI Chairman noted that Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Pervaiz Elahi had vowed to follow his orders. “Pervaiz Elahi has given me the full authority to dissolve the assembly whenever I want,” he added.

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Extension to ex-COAS Qamar Bajwa

In response to a question, the former prime minister said that his government’s decision to give extension to former Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa was ‘a mistake’.

While terming the decision a mistake, Imran Khan said that no one should ever get an extension in the army. “When we came into power, our government was facing several problems,” he said, adding that extension to former COAS Bajwa was inevitable.

“I would trust whatever ex-COAS General Bajwa said. I would tell him that both of us are thinking about the country; our only purpose was to save the country,” he said, adding that he didn’t know how he was being lied to and betrayed.

He further said that he received a report from the Intelligence Bureau (IB) about a game being played, adding that his informant from the IB would notify him verbally and not in writing following fears.

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NAB wasn’t in my control

Responding to a question regarding National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Imran Khan said that at first, he didn’t understand why were the powerful not held accountable.  “However, I later understood that the bureau wasn’t in my control,” he added.

“It was in someone else’s control and the problem was that they didn’t consider corruption as a bad practice,” the PTI Chairman added.

Accusing Zardari’s of being involved in corruption cases in the past, Imran Khan said, “It is a sign of doomsday that Zardari is saying that I will be sent to jail by NAB.”

The PTI chief, regarding his less number of seats in Sindh, said that he would run a campaign in Sindh and will defeat Zardari.