Imran seeking help after accusing US of conspiracy against him: Khawaja Asif
During an interaction with foreign media personnel, he continuously talked about Imran.
ISLAMABAD (Dunya News) – Defence Minister Khawaja Asif on Friday lambasted PTI Chairman Imran Khan for “flirting” with the United States after accusing Washington of conspiracy to overthrow his government and claimed that his “cult following would soon fizzle out”.
During an interaction with foreign media personnel here, he continuously talked about Imran, calling him a hypocrite who was seeking America’s help to regain power.
“His political journey started with a cipher in which he had accused the US of conspiring against the PTI government. And today, Shireen Mazari has written a letter to the US for him,” he stated.
Asif called Imran a liar who accused the US of conspiring against him, even naming US officials. But now he is hiring lobbyists in the US to seek help.
The minister claimed that Imran’s followers might believe in him but for others his claims were irrational.
Asif stated that for the past year, the government had been trying to reach a consensus on economic policies but the offers were rejected.
He claimed that Imran has offered the military leadership for talks several times, but not the political leadership. He, however, disregarded offers by the present government.
Imran even approached former army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa multiple times through the president and offered him an extension, he added.
“Despite all his claims, Imran has not offered to the present government for dialogue,” he maintained.
Asif said that the government was ready to talk to him for the sake of peace in the country.
Referring to the events that took place in the last few weeks, particularly the ex-premier’s appearance in the Federal Judicial Complex on March 18, Asif stated that nowhere in the world were such scenes witnessed that an accused had refused to appear before the court.
“And when he appears before the court, his attendance is marked while he is sitting in his car, his supporters mob the courts and intimidate the officials,” he said.
On the other hand, he continued, when the police were sent to Imran’s residence to arrest him, his followers attacked them with petrol bombs, stones and sticks.
“This has never happened in Pakistan before. Even during Imran’s regime, and in the past too, opposition leaders were arrested and they surrendered in a dignified manner.
“Whatever victimisation took place, they never physically contested their arrest, never abused or maligned the courts,” the minister said.
He recalled that during the PTI government’s tenure, the entire leadership of the PML-N was put behind bars, but such resistance was not seen.
“I was arrested and jailed for almost six months. It has been almost three years but my wife still appears in court. The victimisation of the opposition [during Imran’s government] was unprecedented.”
However, he contended that the coalition government never opted for such tactics, nor has it violated the law or the Constitution at any point.
Asif pointed out that the coalition was governing the country under circumstances that were very different — administratively, financially and politically“.
“We do realise that the political capital that we had when we took over or when we moved towards the no-confidence movement has depleted and we have paid that cost.
“We had the option to dissolve the assemblies and announce elections, but we were in the middle of negotiating with the IMF (International Monetary Fund). An interim government perhaps could not do that as effectively as an empowered and elected government in power could,” he added.
Asif revealed that the government was handling crises every day, which he said were precipitated by Imran, and hoped that it would emerge out successfully.
At point during the press conference, the minister also warned that if Imran or his followers resorted to violence again, they would be countered by the state’s writ and power.