Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Imran Khan on Monday insisted that the powerful “establishment” gave him “three options,” contradicting the military’s stance that the options were not put forth by it during the recent political turmoil in the coup-prone country. The 69-year-old cricketer-turned politician made these remarks during an informal conversation with journalists in Islamabad.
“The establishment gave me three options, so I agreed with the election proposal. How could I accept the resignation and no-confidence suggestion,” the former premier said while replying to a question on the military’s clarification about the ‘three options’ given to him.
Khan was ousted after he lost a no-confidence vote in the National Assembly earlier this month, becoming the first prime minister in Pakistan to be removed unceremoniously from power.
Khan said that he will not say anything which will harm the country. “I am not saying anything because Pakistan needs a strong and united army. We are a Muslim country and a strong army is a guarantor of our security.”
He also said that the military was onboard over his visit to Russia and he telephoned Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa before the visit.
“Gen Bajwa said we must visit Russia,” Khan was quoted as saying by Geo TV.
Khan’s comments came days after Army spokesman Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said that during the deadlock between the Opposition and the government, the PM Office had approached the army chief to help find a solution to the political crisis.
“It is unfortunate that our political leadership was not ready to talk. So the army chief and DG ISI went to the PM Office and three scenarios were discussed,” he said on Thursday, recalling that one was that the no-confidence motion should be held as it was. The other were that the prime minister resigns or the no-confidence motion was retracted and the assemblies were dissolved.
“No option from the establishment was given,” Iftikhar clarified while rejecting rumours circulating on social media about the establishment meeting the Opposition parties. “There is no truth to this,” he had asserted.
The powerful Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 73 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Khan, who was ousted from power last week, had apparently lost support of the Army after he refused to endorse the appointment of the ISI spy agency chief last year. Finally he agreed but it soured his ties with the Army.
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