Prime Minister Imran Khan has said that there is a lot of anger in the military over the tirades of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif against the army, but the army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, is putting up with it for the “sake of democracy”.
The PM made these comments in an interview on Samaa TV. “I praise Gen Bajwa today. To attack an army chief in this manner definitely provokes a reaction from the army,” he added.
The PM said that Gen Bajwa was “uncomplicated man”. “If someone else was at the helm of the army, there would have been a strong response by now,” Imran said.
The PM said the opposition was accusing him of being a “puppet” of the establishment, yet they wanted to talk to the establishment. “This means they’re putting pressure on the army to remove a democratic government. This is [their] democratic movement,” he added.
Imran said that asking the military to remove a democratically-elected government was a case of “treason”, as Article 6 applies to this. “The opposition’s second demand is that if the army and ISI chiefs do not remove me, then the army should remove them [the chiefs of army and ISI],” he added.
According to the prime minister, the army was a state department that was subordinate to his government. He said the military has always stood by him in times of crisis.
Speaking on the former government’s troubled relationships with the establishment, Imran said Nawaz was “manufactured by the army against the PPP”. He said he himself received a message from military ruler Gen Ziaul Haq in 1988 that he wanted to make him (Imran) the prime minister.
He said the establishment had helped the PML-N supremo in the 2013 elections but their ties became strained because the establishment did not support him in 2018.
The ex-PM, who is in a self-imposed exile in London, has called out the army many times for its involvement in manipulating the general elections in 2018 to bring Imran Khan to power. Addressing a rally in Gujranwala in Oct, the former PM had called out Gen Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for alleged manipulation of election results.