ISLAMABAD: Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday said that his life is in danger and he was aware of the conspiracy to assassinate him since August 2021. Furthermore, he revealed that the establishment has suggested him three options (i) face the ‘no-confidence move’, (ii) tender the resignation and (iii) fresh elections.
“My clear response was that I shall not even think to resign, will face the situation with full determination and the third option is good idea”, Imran Khan said.
Speaking to a ARY news channel’s anchor Arshad Sharif, PM Imran Khan said that he would “not resign from office despite losing the majority in the National Assembly. Opposition would not be able to run the government with the people that have left him, adding that it would be better if early elections are held.
Prime Minister Imran also claimed that he knew that a “foreign conspiracy” was being hatched in London to topple his government since August last year. “This game started in August [last year]… I received reports about people frequently visiting London from here [Pakistan]… and [also received] reports from agencies,” the premier said.
He also alleged that PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif, who has been living in London since 2019 for medical treatment, was plotting against his government. “He [Nawaz] was frequently holding meetings with individuals who are against military and held last meeting with Hussain Haqqani on March 3,” Imran Khan claimed.
“I am fully aware who including senior journalists have been in contact with whom in London and have been continuously going to foreign embassies there”, Imran Khan said.
Army and Faiz Hameed issue
While responding to a question, PM Imran rubbished the rumours that he was mulling to de-notify army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and added that it was a “propaganda spread by PML-N”. “I can never think of doing anything which is detrimental to our armed forces… our country needs a strong military.”
PM Imran said he will never speak against the country’s military. “Despite the issues, I will never discuss them publicly because Pakistan needs a strong army and we should not do anything which causes harms to [military],” he remarked.
Speaking about the reported impasse over new spy chief’s appointment in October last year, PM Imran admitted that he wanted General Faiz Hameed to continue as DG ISI till winter amid fears of civil war in Afghanistan.
“He [General Qamar] had a different view in this regard while I was thinking as the chief executive of the country,” said the premier while dispelling the impression that his approach was based on “favouritism”.
PM Imran said he had so far not thought about giving extension to the incumbent army chief or appointing a new military head. When asked if he still enjoyed cordial ties with the military chief, the premier said, “The relations are fine”.
The premier also told journalists that he would “never go against Pakistan Army, adding that he does not want the military to become controversial at any point. “I will never speak against the army,” said PM Imran, adding that Pakistan needed a strong army for its survival.
The premier said that had there never been a “strong army, then the country would have been divided into three parts”. “We are safe because of our army,” said PM Imran.
PM Imran told the journalists that when the Opposition will come to power, they will try to defame his character. “My wife does not leave the house, yet a campaign was initiated against her. There is a threat to my life and my character will be defamed,” PM Imran Khan foretold.
No-confidence motion issue
Coming on the no-confidence motion, the premier said that he will come up with “another surprise” on Sunday when the National Assembly meets to vote on the no-trust motion.
“A captain never shares his strategy but I reiterate that this [no-confidence motion] is a major international conspiracy,” PM Imran Khan maintained.
Talking about the allegedly threatening memo, PM Imran Khan said that the “letter” sent by a foreign country had said that until he is in power, bilateral ties cannot move ahead.
Even though PM Imran did not share the name of the country in this conversation, he had an apparent “slip of the tongue” on Sunday during a televised address during which he had said it was the United States that had conspired against him. “Our envoy was told that Imran Khan is unacceptable and should be removed. [He] was told that bilateral relations will be looked at after the removal of Prime Minister Imran Khan,” said the premier.
Imran Khan said that the envoy was told that Russia’s visit was Imran Khan’s personal decision. He said that there was a “threat to his life because of the threatening memo.”
The premier said that the contents of the letter were also shared in the National Security Committee meeting. “I raised the matter at the right forum at the right time,” the premier maintained.
The premier told the journalists that he learned about the threat to his life and the “game” being played against him in August 2021. “Planning was being done in London according to agencies’ report,” said PM Imran, adding that he also has “all the reports” regarding which person visits which embassy. “I have all the reports of politicians, journalists and anchor-persons who frequent different embassies. I knew of the conspiracy as I have all the reports,” the prime minister said.
Taking a jibe at PML-N, the premier then said that the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz “openly opposed the army.” “The PML-N supremo also started buying judges by offering them plots,” he alleged. “Their aim is to come in power and abolish the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) so that they could get away with their wrongdoing,” claimed PM Imran.
He added that once the PML-N comes to power, it would end the former premier’s lifetime disqualification and restore Nawaz. “If I wanted to save my government, I would have given an NRO to the Opposition on the first day,” said PM Imran.
Taking a jibe at the opposition parties’ tenures and their policy regarding the US drone attacks during the war on terror. “If Imran Khan wins the no-confidence motion, then there will be difficulties. If Imran Khan loses, then Pakistan will be forgiven,” said PM Imran
Buzdar’s removal a political understanding
Talking about former chief minister of Punjab Usman Buzdar’s resignation, PM Imran said that he had decided to remove him following a “political understanding”.
Earlier today, Governor Punjab Chaudhry Muhamad Sarwar had accepted the resignation of Chief Minister Usman Buzdar. Meanwhile, following the acceptance of the resignation, the Punjab cabinet has also been dissolved. PM Imran had asked Buzdar to resign after he opted to nominate Pervaiz Elahi as his candidate for CM.
Imran Khan said that a “powerful” country had been “angered” by his visit to Russia in February and had questioned his decision to go ahead with the two-day tour amid Russia-Ukraine tensions.
He did not name the country in his speech at the Islamabad Security Dialogue. The premier noted that the unnamed country’s ally, India, was importing oil from Russia at a time when the West was trying to impose sanctions in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Today, I read the British foreign secretary’s statement that they can’t say anything to India as it has an independent foreign policy. So what are we then?” he asked, adding that the blame lay with Pakistan.
Imran Khan on Friday, terming an independent foreign policy crucial for the country, said the reason why Pakistan could not touch its peak potential was its ‘dependency syndrome’ on other powerful nations.
“A county without an independent foreign policy remains unable to secure the interests of its people,” he said in his address at the Islamabad Security Dialogue.
The two-day event gathered intelligentsia from across the country besides representatives from the United States, United Kingdom, China, Russian and European Union.
PM Imran Khan said taking independent decisions while keeping high the interests of a nation was extremely important rather than submitting to the will of other countries in exchange for foreign aid.
He said a nation could not progress until it kept thinking that it could not survive without foreign aid and criticized the decisions of previous governments for joining the alien wars, namely the Afghan Jihad and the post 9/11 war on terror. “These decisions, that incurred major damage to Pakistan, were made for the sake of dollars,” he said.
He pointed out that such detrimental policies resulted in sectarian militancy that disrupted the environment of investment, and promoted drug rackets and black money in the country.
He regretted that no independent evaluation was made afterward to assess the damage suffered by the Pakistani society, and said “the elite filled up their bank accounts at the cost of the nation”.
Imran Khan said his government for four years pursued an independent foreign policy that helped the country gain respect in the global arena. Referring to the U.S., he said a “powerful country” had expressed displeasure over his recent visit to Russia. “On the other hand, it is supporting its ally India which imports oil from Russia”.
“How come a country can interfere in the affairs of an independent State,” he said. “But not to blame them, as it is our fault because we gave them this impression”.
He said for its own interest, Pakistan’s elite threw the nation to the altar and put its self-respect at stake. Imran Khan said national security was a multidimensional phenomenon and could be ensured when the State and nation got united with a single vision and ideology.
He said his government firmly believed that there was a symbiotic relationship between economic, human, and traditional security which was imperative for Pakistan’s long-term development.
He said domestic stability and regional peace based on mutual co-existence, regional connectivity, and shared prosperity were essential prerequisites to optimising national security.