Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa has been quoted as telling Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman that “there is no possibility of a minus-Imran concept”.
In an “important” meeting held between the army chief and Fazl ahead of the latter’s Azadi March, a journalist affiliated with a private media outlet quoted the COAS as saying that he stood by the constitution and democracy.
“We have been doing what the constitution asks for,” the army chief reportedly said.
Gen Bajwa reminded Fazl that he was a responsible political leader and must be aware that the regional situation is critical. “The situation on the border with India is volatile due to the Kashmir crisis and Afghanistan’s situation is also a source of trouble.”
The army chief reportedly also referred to Iran-Saudi Arabia affairs and told the JUI-F chief that it was not an appropriate time for staging the protest since the economy had been brought on the right track after herculean efforts within the country and abroad.
The COAS made it clear that they wouldn’t permit destabilisation at this moment, the anchor claimed. “He [Imran Khan] is a constitutional prime minister (PM) and neither I nor you can minus him,” he quoted Gen Bajwa as saying.
The anchor, who further claimed that Fazl’s meeting with the COAS was “common knowledge” and was held a few days ago, was also among the media persons who called on the premier in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Speaking to senior journalists during the meeting, PM Imran had said that he wouldn’t resign under pressure from Fazl.
The JUI-F chief has threatened to block the federal capital with his protest against the “illegitimate” government of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). His Azadi March, which is expected to have hundreds of thousands of participants — mainly religious hardliners from the JUI-F — is expected to enter Islamabad on October 31.