Imran Khan has never requested meeting with current army chief: Fawad


ISLAMABAD, MAR 7: PTI Senior Vice President Fawad Chaudhry on Tuesday said former prime minister Imran Khan has never made any request to meet Chief of Army Staff General Asim Munir, terming the “speculations in this regard as baseless”.

In a tweet, the former information minister also clarified that neither the PTI chief nor “any of his representatives likewise (sic) the President has never approached Chairman PTI with any suggestion of the army chief for meeting Shehbaz Sharif”.

The statement comes after senior journalist Kamran Khan tweeted earlier in the morning about Gen Munir telling the country’s business community that he had sent a message to ex-premier Imran through President Dr Arif Alvi for meeting the prime minister which the PTI chairman did not agree to.

Kamran, however, claimed that Imran did desire a meeting with the army chief which the latter denied, saying he was not ready to interfere in the political process.

Kamran further said the meeting lasted for at least three-and-a-half hours in which Finance Minister Ishaq Dar was also present, adding that the army chief and minister acknowledged the economic crisis but were confident that the staff-level agreement with the International Monetary Fund would be achieved soon.

The journalist also disclosed that the finance minister revealed to the business community that the Fund wanted a six per cent hike in discount rates and that Dar had somehow managed a two per cent hike in the last monetary policy committee meeting of the State Bank of Pakistan.

On March 3, Imran had said he was ready to talk to Gen Munir “for the betterment of the country”, stressing he had “no quarrel with the establishment”.

In a wide-ranging discussion with reporters at his Zaman Park residence in Lahore, he had touched upon politics, his ties with the military, his frustration with retired army chief Qamar Javed Bajwa and why he chose not to fly to Islamabad for court hearings.

The remarks had come hours after President Arif Alvi had announced April 30 as the date for elections in Punjab, a demand the PTI has been pushing.

When asked why he was not speaking to the “establishment” — a euphemism for the military — he had said he never had a quarrel with the establishment, and it was Gen Bajwa that “stabbed me in the back”.