CM Elahi reminds ‘ungrateful’ PTI of Bajwa’s favors, warns it to keep criticism ‘within limits’

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LAHORE, DEC 18: Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi on Sunday reminded the “ungrateful” PTI about the “favours” of Gen (R) Qamar Javed Bajwa upon the party and warned it to keep criticism of the former army chief “within limits”.

In an interview with ARY News programme The Reporters, Elahi said the PTI should “remember Bajwa sahab’s favours and not be ungrateful”, adding that the former army chief “elevated the party’s stature from nothing” and supported the government on many international matters such as negotiating procurement of funds from Pakistan’s Arab allies or the International Monetary Fund.

“What do they (PTI) think of themselves? Have they descended from the heavens above? If any one of them speaks against Bajwa sahab then I will be the first to speak out and then our entire party will.

“They have made it a joke. Can a person be so ungrateful? To say whatever they want … stay within your limits. No one will say [anything more now],” the chief minister said.

“I told [PTI Chairman Imran] Khan sahab three months ago that Bajwa sahab is ours, yours and PTI’s mohsin (benefactor) so fear God and don’t speak against him.”

He said he had reiterated the same in his meeting with the PTI chief a day ago at Imran’s Zaman Park residence. “He (Imran) replied: ‘I’ve received many requests [not to speak against Bajwa],’ so I said: ‘Then accept them,’” Elahi added.

Regarding Imran’s subsequent announcement of the date for dissolving the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab assemblies with the two chief ministers at his side, during which he criticised the former army chief again, Elahi said: “The injustice that Imran Khan did is that making us sit beside him, he criticised Bajwa sahab in front of me.”

He said he had “felt very bad” about the entire situation but could not raise the issue since there were too many people and he could not have time for a personal meeting with Imran. “We will not tolerate this. He is our mohsin and we don’t hear anything against them,” Parvez added.

Since Gen Bajwa’s retirement, Imran has increasingly turned his criticism towards the former army chief and levelled a series of allegations against him.

In his 50-minute speech a day ago, the former prime minister continued chiding former army chief Bajwa for ditching him as “he was neither allowing him to proceed against the corrupt nor letting him know that he was playing a double game and getting PML-N and its allies to bring in the government through conspiracy”.

Personally, he claimed, Bajwa had continued assuring him that the PTI government would not be toppled nor the corrupt politicians installed to rule the country. “I did not speak against Gen Bajwa openly because he was the army chief and any comment could have earned a bad name for the institution,” Imran had said.

Imran had accused Gen Bajwa of unleashing torture, threats, humiliation, and fake cases against himself, his party leaders, office-bearers, workers, and even social media activists.

“Gen Bajwa committed a mistake but he never realised it, not even after seeing the reaction of the nation [which] sided [with PTI] soon after the toppling of my government,” the PTI chief had said.

Criticism of Gen Faiz

Parvez also complained that “Imran never made Moonis a minister” and further launched allegations on former director general of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General (R) Faiz Hameed, saying that “he committed injustice with us every now and then to get us arrested.”

He claimed that Gen Faiz was “strongly against” him, alleging that the ex-ISI chief had called up the National Accountability Bureau chairman at the time and told him to “arrest me and Moonis” around the time of Bajwa’s extension.

“He crossed all limits,” Parvez said, adding that he had then called Gen Bajwa who “straightened Faiz out”. “He (Gen Faiz) was not resisting and then he said that ‘there were orders from above of Imran Khan’,” Parvez added.

“So what is this treatment? When have we never supported Imran?” the chief minister questioned, adding that the PTI had “straightened” after the PML-Q’s support for the Senate elections and made Moonis a federal minister.

He said God had “created such a situation” around the PTI and Imran that even Parvez’s detractors were saying that “if you (Imran) don’t make Chaudhry sahab [the chief minister] then your party will be over … and the PML-N will come [to power].”

Our unity is permanent: Moonis

Meanwhile, the chief minister’s son, Moonis Elahi held a meeting with Imran at his Lahore residence in which the two had a discussion on advancing a “common political agenda”. After the meeting, Moonis said: “Our unity is permanent and will continue to be.”

PTI Vice President Fawad Chaudhry responded to Parvez’s comments during a press conference in Lahore and said the chief minister had his “own party and own views”.

“He is a politician so he will hold his own views. As far as his relationship with Imran Khan is concerned, it is based on respect and till now he has done everything that Imran has decided.

“He has fully given his opinion but accepted Imran’s decision and this is the beauty of this relationship and that is why the PTI and PML-Q will be allies in the next elections,” Chaudhry said.