Pakistan's ousted PM Imran Khan says 'never planned to bring army chief of my choice'
Pakistan's former prime minister Imran Khan on Wednesday said he had never planned to bring an army chief of his choice as alleged by his opponents.
Khan was ousted in April by a coalition of several parties, which among other reasons, alleged the former premier was planning to elevate his trusted ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the new army chief of the country.
Addressing a seminar in Islamabad, the cricketer-turned-politician clarified that he never planned on appointing an army chief of his choice in November 2022, when the tenure of the current army chief expires.
“Allah is my witness, I say that I never thought about who will be the army chief in November. Imran Khan did not need to appoint his own army chief,” he said.
He alleged that former premier Nawaz Sharif plundered the nation's wealth and was planning to control the state institutions, including the army, to protect his corruption.
Earlier, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khurram Dastgir had stated that Khan wanted to bring an army chief of his choice.
Referring to the statement, the former premier said: “I did not even think who would be the next army chief of the country. We had decided to appoint the next army chief on merit when the time comes.”
Khan, 69, however, added that the PML-N and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leaders were afraid about the appointment of Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the next Chief of Army Staff.
“They were afraid that I wanted to appoint Lt Gen Faiz. They feared that if that would have happened then it would shatter their future,” he said.
He reiterated that his opponents were afraid of the army as their ‘theft’ is reported to ISI and other sensitive agencies.
“Since Nawaz Sharif and Zardari have stolen money, they want to control institutions,” he alleged.
The ousted prime minister also lashed out at Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, saying that he had asked the “neutral” (meaning the army) that Shehbaz had cases of corruption against him and questioned the neutrality of the army.
“I ask the neutrals if there is a burglary in the house, can the watchman remain neutral?”
He also announced that he would never accept the current imported government.
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