Gen Bajwa put pressure on me to develop friendly ties with India, claims Imran Khan


Lahore: Pakistan’s ousted prime minister Imran Khan has claimed that the then Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa had put pressure on him to develop friendly ties with India.

Relations between India and Pakistan have often been strained over the Kashmir issue and cross-border terrorism emanating from Pakistan. However, their ties nose-dived after India abrogated Article 370 of the Constitution, revoking the special status of Jammu and Kashmir and bifurcating the State into two Union Territories on August 5, 2019.

“Gen Bajwa wanted me to develop friendly ties with India. He put pressure on me for this and it was one of the reasons our relationship deteriorated,” Khan claimed during an interaction with social media journalists at his Lahore’s Zaman Park residence on Saturday evening.

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He, however, reiterated his stance that Pakistan should only hold peace talks with India provided New Delhi restores the special status of Jammu and Kashmir.

India has repeatedly told Pakistan that it desires normal neighbourly relations with Islamabad in an environment free of terror, hostility and violence.

The 70-year-old Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chairman further said what Gen (retd.) Bajwa did to Pakistan even an enemy couldn’t do. “Bajwa should be held accountable by the army,” he said.

Khan in the past accused Bajwa of not only toppling his country that laid a foundation of economic disaster but also committing atrocities against him, his party members and journalists. “Bajwa wanted me killed,” Khan alleged.

Khan has been at loggerheads with Gen (retd.) Bajwa ever since his ouster from power in April last year by a no-confidence motion.

Gen (retd) Bajwa retired on November 29 last year after two consecutive three-year terms.

Regarding the PML-N led federal government’s assertion that it would not accept the verdict of a three-member bench of Supreme Court headed by Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial in polls in two provinces, Khan said: “I know what kind of benefits this cabal of corrupts would get by delaying the elections in Punjab and Kyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces. They are just delaying elections hoping to crush the PTI or finish Imran Khan.” Khan asked the ruling alliance to explain the reasons for postponing polls till October, 2023. “If elections are not held within 90 days in two provinces Pakistan will be without a constitution,” he said.

Khan’s party had dissolved assemblies in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa provinces in January after which a caretaker setup took over. Under the constitution, elections are held within 90 days from the date of dissolution of an assembly.

“Pakistan is facing a critical moment in its history. The nation must stand by the Constitution and rule of law,” Khan asserted.

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( With inputs from )

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