Imran Khan tried to sack Army chief Gen Qamar Bajwa? Here's what we know so far

S7 News

Sunday's vote marked the latest escalation in a crisis smoldering for weeks, with Khan already having lost the backing of key political allies and the country's powerful military

As Pakistan woke up to a new dawn on Sunday, the details of murky political activities of the preceding night have surfaced, revealing that the country may have averted an ugly showdown between ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan and the powerful Army.

According to various media reports, Khan made a botched attempt to replace Pakistan Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in order to bring someone more pliant and sympathetic to his idea of “foreign conspiracy” and cling on to power.

BBC Urdu reported that a helicopter carrying “two uninvited guests” landed at the Prime Minister's House in the dead of the night and were escorted by Army soldiers to the interior of the palatial building. The two ‘guests’ were closeted with Imran for 45 minutes.

No details were officially provided about the meeting but it was not held in a cordial atmosphere, the report said.

“The Prime Minister had issued orders an hour ago to remove one of the high officials who came to meet him. So, the uninvited arrival of these guests was unexpected for the Prime Minister. Imran Khan was waiting for a helicopter but those who arrived on the helicopter were not whom he had expected,” according to the report.

It is understood that Khan was expecting the helicopter would bring his “newly appointed official,” whose arrival would help put down all political disturbance.

The media report also said that the attempted effort to usher in a “change” failed as the defence ministry did not issue the necessary notification for the new appointment.

The BBC did not identify the “uninvited guest” but the choice of words, tenor and tone of the report suggested that they could be the Army chief General Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum.

Reacting to the report, the Pakistan Army's media wing on Sunday rejected the BBC Urdu article and termed it as a "typical propaganda" story. It said in a statement that the article is "totally baseless and a pack of lies".

"There is no truth in the fake story whatsoever and clearly seems part of an organised disinformation campaign. The matter is being taken up with BBC authorities," the statement added.

Pakistan has struggled with political instability since its formation in 1947 with multiple regime changes and military coups. No prime minister has ever completed a full five-year term in office.

Another media report said a petition had been drafted to challenge the possible removal of Gen. Bajwa as Army chief. The Islamabad High Court was ordered to open in the night to take up the matter forthwith if the notification was issued by the ministry of defence.

Separately, The Express Tribune newspaper reported that an emergency petition was filed in the Islamabad High Court on Saturday night, seeking to restrain Prime Minister Khan from de-notifying Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Bajwa.

The BBC report said that the petition was ready but not filed for a technical reason, as it needed the number of the official notification on change of the Army chief, which eventually was not issued.

However, Khan in a meeting with a group of journalists said that there was no truth in the rumour that he was trying to replace the Army chief.


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