Former information minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain on Wednesday claimed the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI)-led government would have remained in power if its ties with the military establishment had not become “strained.”
In an interview with Express News anchor Mansoor Ali Khan, the PTI leader admitted that ties between the establishment and the ousted government had been vulnerable for several months. “Had our ties with the establishment remained good, we would have still been in government,” he said, adding that multiple attempts had been undertaken to repair the relationship to no avail. He said that the rift had developed over “several things” and did not specify any particular breaking point.
The PTI leader’s statement seems to be in marked contrast to the narrative being peddled by ousted prime minister Imran Khan, who claims his government was ousted as a result of a “foreign conspiracy” instigated by the U.S. Washington has repeatedly denied this, stressing that it does not prefer any one political party of Pakistan over another.
To a question, Fawad maintained that the strained relationship was not a result of PTI Chairman Khan’s desire to replace Chief of Army Staff Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa with former ISI chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed. “Frankly, Imran Khan does not plan that far into the future,” he said of Gen. Bajwa’s expected superannuation in November after the extension to his tenure expires. “He [Khan] isn’t a conspirator, nor is he capable of formulating conspiracies,” he claimed.
The PTI leader also claimed that Khan’s ouster had “damaged” the reputation of two arms of the establishment—the Army and the judiciary—and reiterated his warnings of the country heading toward crisis provoked by the dissatisfaction of PTI supporters.
Former prime minister Khan was ousted from power on April 10 after the National Assembly voted against him in a no-confidence motion. He is the first prime minister in Pakistan’s history to be ousted through a no-trust motion.