Clock starts ticking on exit of Pak PM Imran Khan

  • Intelligence inputs indicate that four senior-most Pak Army generals including Army Chief Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa have asked Pak PM to quit after the OIC-FM conference on March 22-23.
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qanar Jawed Bawa and DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum met PM Imran Khan on March 19.
Pakistan Army Chief Gen Qanar Jawed Bawa and DG ISI Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum met PM Imran Khan on March 19.
Published on Mar 20, 2022 10:07 AM IST
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By, Hindustan Times, New Delhi

Political turmoil in Pakistan is heading towards a crescendo with united opposition expected to submit a no-confidence motion against Prime Minister Imran Khan to the Speaker of the National Assembly tomorrow. The opposition has also warned that in case the Speaker refuses to accept or delay the motion, the leaders would stage a sit-in protest at the Assembly secretariat, which is also the venue of the OIC foreign ministers’ conference on March 22-23. The no-confidence vote is expected to be taken up on March 28 if the motion is admitted by Speaker on Monday.

While the political pressure is mounting on PM Khan, intelligence inputs indicate that four senior-most Pakistan Army generals including Army Chief Gen Qamar Jawed Bajwa and DG (ISI) Lt Gen Nadeem Anjum have told the Prime Minister to step down after the OIC-FM conference. Even the much-touted trump card of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaaf (PTI) party to get former Army Chief Gen Raheel Sharif to mediate on behalf of Imran Khan with the Army has apparently failed. It is learnt that Gen Sharif flew to Pakistan to meet Gen Bajwa at the behest of Imran Khan but could not convince the Army Chief who along with his senior-most generals are convinced that no second chance should be given to their former protégé.

According to reports reaching Delhi, the Pakistan Army is united in its assessment that Khan must step down as continuous political turmoil was not in the interest of Pakistan, which already reeling in a serious economic crisis. The Army is also upset with PM Khan for taking unnecessary pot-shots against the US and the EU on the Ukraine crisis and apparently for ignoring him and Pakistan despite Islamabad’s support to the west in Afghanistan.

With Pakistan Army bluntly asking PM Khan to put in his papers after the OIC conference, the Opposition leaders have also stepped the tempo and have threatened to disrupt the entire Assembly proceedings if the motion is not taken up due to political wranglings on behalf of Khan.

There is talk in Islamabad circles that PM Khan may even dismiss Gen Bajwa as Pakistan President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had dismissed acting army chief Gen Gul Hasan Khan and air force chief Air Marshal Abdul Rahim Khan in March 1972. But with the senior-most generals behind Gen Bajwa, this possibility does not carry weight as the present Army Chief has kept out of politics and is not looking to replace the former Pakistan swing bowler.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Author of Indian Mujahideen: The Enemy Within (2011, Hachette) and Himalayan Face-off: Chinese Assertion and Indian Riposte (2014, Hachette). Awarded K Subrahmanyam Prize for Strategic Studies in 2015 by Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (MP-IDSA) and the 2011 Ben Gurion Prize by Israel.

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