ISLAMABAD: In former prime minister Imran Khan’s interaction with journalists on Friday, it became clear that he means establishment when he frequently uses the word “neutral” in his speeches, interviews and tweets.
The interaction took place at Imran Khan’s Banigala residence. He shared with journalists his perspective on where he apparently erred.
He said he was wrong in assessing that corruption was an issue for powerful quarters. In fact it was not, he learnt later. Imran Khan said that while he erred in making his assessment, the conspirators too could not gauge the magnitude of the masses’ protest against his ouster.
He said he was shocked to see the “thieves” being foisted on the country, adding that dropping an atomic bomb would have been better than handing over the helm to these people. He went on to ask if the country’s interests were not on the list of priorities of those who became part of the conspiracy against his government.
Imran Khan said those powerful people who would tell him the tales of pervious rulers’ corruption started advising him to focus on his government’s performance instead of the corruption cases of others.
Imran Khan said the thieves brought into power destroyed every institution and the judicial system, asking now which government official would probe the cases of “these criminals.”
The former premier said his government had no influence over NAB and the judiciary. Those who had the influence could have “eight or ten” people punished which would have strengthened accountability, he said and added the situation would have been different but they (the influential quarters) did not let that happen.
Imran Khan said his relationship with the establishment remained fine till the last day of his government, but there were two issues on which they did not see eye to eye.
The former prime minister said “powerful quarters” wanted Usman Buzdar removed as the chief minister. Buzdar’s removal would have divided the PTI in Punjab because various groups in the party would not have accepted anyone else.
Imran Khan said but he would tell them that there was “more corruption and governance issues in Sindh”.
The second disagreement with the establishment was over the issue of the former director general of the ISI, as he wanted him to stay in the agency until winter given the situation in Afghanistan. He said he also wanted to retain the ISI chief to deal with the opposition’s conspiracy against his government. He said he known about the conspiracy since June.
Imran Khan said, “I say with Allah being my witness that I had not even thought about elevating the former ISI DG as army chief.”
Imran Khan also said such decisions were invariably taken that would weaken his government. He said that in early days 30 PMLN MPAs wanted to make a forward bloc with the PTI. “This move would have finished N-League’s politics, but the powerful quarters advised those MPAs to stay where they are,” Imran Khan added.
To a question, Imran Khan said the Sharif brothers are not the only “Mir Jafars and Mir Sadiqs” as there are others also, but he would disclose their names when the time comes. He said he knows who had been meeting whom and when in London.
Imran Khan said his government’s decision of abstaining from vote in the UN on the Ukraine issue was right. Imran Khan said preparation for the long march would start from May 20.
He said many options open up when the masses take to the streets. He said he is still receiving messages from the establishment, but he has “blocked their numbers” and would only speak to them once the date for the elections is announced.