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Gen Bajwa urged withdrawal of no-confidence motion against Imran Khan, claims PML-N’s Malik Ahmad

Gen Bajwa urged withdrawal of no-confidence motion against Imran Khan

ISLAMABAD, FEB 16 /DNA/ – PML-N leader Malik Ahmad Khan has claimed that former army chief retired General Qamar Javed Bajwa had advised the then-opposition to withdraw the vote of no confidence (VONC) against former prime minister Imran Khan.

His statement comes a day after Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman claimed that Gen Bajwa and ex-spymaster Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, who was the then-Peshawar corps commander, had orchestrated the no-trust motion that resulted in Imran’s ouster in April 2022.

Pakistan had seen for the first time in its history the ouster of a prime minister through a VONC, the efforts for which were led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an alliance of parties led by the PML-N.

For its part, the PTI accused the PDM of colluding with the US and hatching a regime change conspiracy to topple Imran’s government and blamed the military, which was led by Bajwa at the time, for letting the then-dispensation in Islamabad go ahead with the alleged conspiracy. The US has repeatedly denied any interference.

In a TV interview last night, Fazl had said: “They (Bajwa and Faiz) were in contact with all political parties regarding the no-confidence motion and they told us the way of going about it.”

When asked whether the move was the brainchild of the two generals, the JUI-F chief replied in the affirmative but added that ultimately, both the PPP and the PML-N had supported the move.

The JUI-F chief had further said: “I was not in favour of the no-confidence move. Just for my friends, I sacrificed my opinion.”

In a contrasting statement, PML-N’s Malik Ahmad today claimed that Gen Bajwa had instead advised against bringing a no-confidence motion against Imran’s government.

Addressing a press conference in Lahore, Ahmad said: “The meeting in which the heads of all political parties were present […] in that, if he (Fazl) is saying that Gen Bajwa told to bring a VONC — I am presenting the incident that unfolded before me — in fact he (Bajwa) was saying to not bring a VONC.”

“He (Bajwa) was Imran’s representative, which I also objected to and asked ‘what is the [army] chief saying’,” he added.

Ahmad specified the meeting was held on March 26, 2022 at the “B-Mess near the Punjab House”. He termed the VONC an “organic, political move resulting from Imran’s administrative destruction”.

He said that his party was of the view that if Imran was to “step down and immediately proceed towards elections”, there was no need to go through the “ordeal” of a VONC.

The PML-N leader then recalled that during the said high-level meeting, Fazl questioned this line of thought and asked: “Why are you saying this after we have organised all this.”

“The way Maulana [Fazl] resisted, I thought of him as a great man,” Ahmad said. Recalling that Gen Bajwa had “come and urged us to withdraw the VONC so they could proceed towards elections”, he wondered how it “connected” to the recent claim made by Fazl.

“Does Maulana have any one person who can come forward and tell when he met him (Bajwa)?” he asked.

The aide to ex-PM Shehbaz also highlighted that Gen Faiz was not even present during the meeting as he was “probably serving as a corps commander somewhere at that time”.

“Did he (Fazl) submit the VONC on someone’s advice? Absolutely not, as Maulana was involved in its filing, the manner of its filing and the political discussion held,” Ahmad claimed. “I wonder why he felt the need to say this today,” he added.

The PML-N leader said he thought of the meeting as Gen Bajwa “bringing his [Imran’s] message”, emphasising that Fazl “took a firm stand” at that time by asking: “Gen sahib, how can you tell us to withdraw [the VONC]?”

Ahmad further wondered why Gen Bajwa was allegedly advising the then-opposition to withdraw the no-confidence motion when, according to Fazl, he was the one who had orchestrated it. “I fail to understand.”

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