Nawaz Sharif blames Gen Bajwa & Gen Faiz for Pakistan’s current turmoil
London/Islamabad: Pakistan’s former three-time premier and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supremo Nawaz Sharif has blamed the ex-Army chief and ex-ISI head for the current turmoil in the country by rigging the 2018 general elections and installing Imran Khan-led government.
The former prime minister held ex-Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ex-Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Lt Gen Faiz Hamid responsible for spinning Pakistan around for their personal wishes and whims, the Geo News reported.
Talking to the media on Thursday in London after meeting with a delegation of senior PML-N leaders from Pakistan, Sharif recalled his 2016 Gujranwala speech at the PML-N public gathering where he directly accused the ex-military men of rigging elections to make way for installing the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government in 2018.
At the time he also questioned who was responsible for the “two governments” in the country and went on to blame then-army chief Gen Bajwa and then-ISI chief Faiz Hamid as being behind everything.
The PML-N meeting comes at a time of heightened political activity in Pakistan as both Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assemblies dissolved.
His latest remarks come in the wake of a top-level huddle where he and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz who is also PML-N senior Vice President, met with party leaders to discuss strategy as the possibility of polls in two provinces grows.
Earlier, Sharif blamed the military top brass for installing PTI’s Khan as the prime minister in violation of the Constitution, removing his government, muzzling the media, pressurising the judiciary, and victimising opposition politicians, the report said.
Sharif broke his silence for the first time after his party faced a major political blow in Punjab following the victory of PTI’s Parvez Elahi in a vote of confidence shortly before the dissolution of the provincial assembly, saying “a cruel joke had been played on Pakistan… for the sake of personal gains”.
He said that the people of Pakistan are well aware of the “faces and characters of the two retired generals who are believed to be behind implementing the Tabdeeli project originally envisioned by former intelligence chiefs General (retd) Shuja Pasha, General (retd) Zaheer-ul-Islam and their colleagues.”
When asked if he held Gen Bajwa and Gen Hamid responsible for the state of the country, he said, “The reality is before everyone. Now no name or face is hidden. Pakistan was used for personal gain. It was a cruel joke played on the nation.”
“Lt Gen (retd) Faiz and Gen (retd) Bajwa were responsible for making it all about their personalities, wishes, and desires,” the 73-year-old Sharif said.
Talking about the meeting with his daughter and party leaders, Sharif said that he discussed Pakistan’s current situation with them.
“Inshallah, all will be well. Pakistan will come out of the difficulties and we will make sure that happens. Our track record of progress is a witness and it’s not possible that we will not make that happen,” he said.
In the four-hour huddle at Stanhope House on Thursday, senior leaders of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N)– Rana Sanaullah, Pervaiz Rashid, and Javed Latif were present where along with the ongoing political situation, Maryam Nawaz’s return to Pakistan and the party’s election campaign prospects were also discussed.
Although it was being speculated that Sanaullah — who was charged with overseeing trust vote proceedings in the Punjab Assembly — had been summoned to London to explain the party’s defeat, a source privy to the discussion rubbished reports that the senior Sharif was annoyed with the interior minister.
According to the source, the meeting was called to discuss the return of Ms Nawaz and her role as chief organiser, saying that Sanaullah’s opinion on the programme and implementation to mobilise the party was critical to Ms Nawaz’s return, the Dawn newspaper report said.
When pressed on the party’s defeat in the vote of confidence at the Punjab Assembly, Sanaullah attributed it to the “doublespeak” of former CM Elahi, who had earlier said he wouldn’t take a vote of confidence or dissolve the assembly.
“We had the numbers and we will show we have the numbers. The coming elections will show PML-N strength and victory,” he told reporters outside the PML-N’s London headquarters.
He said there will be more meetings in the coming days, and that the party’s election campaign will be kicked off according to the guidance given by their leader. He confirmed Ms Nawaz will return next week. When asked about the return of the senior Sharif, Sanaullah said, “It is understood MNS (Muhammad Nawaz Sharif) will return, and he will lead the party’s election campaign. The legal formalities regarding his return were also discussed.
“MNS return is critical as he is the leader of the party, he has the vote and support of the people.”
According to Dawn, the interior minister also rubbished reports of rifts between former PM Shahid Khaqan Abbasi and the PML-N leadership. “There are no differences and Mr Abbasi is committed to the party.”
Calling the PTI chief Khan a “mad man”, Sharif said, “Compare his [performance during the] four years of [PTI] government with four years of our government and you will see how happy and prosperous people were in two tenures and how he [Khan] destroyed Pakistan,” he was quoted as saying.
He said the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) took over the government after winning the vote of no-confidence to “save Pakistan from this madman” because “he had created a catastrophic situation for Pakistan.”