COAS ‘not willing’ to sit with Imran: Marriyum

ISLAMABAD, (MANEND NEWS): Information Minister Marriyum Aurangzeb said on Monday that Army Chief General Asim Munir was “not willing” to sit with Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan in a room and interfere in the democratic processes of the country.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Aurangzeb said that the ruling coalition led by the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) was holding a peaceful protest at the Supreme Court against violations of the Constitution taking place in the country.

“Our workers are disgruntled over some of the recent decisions of the Supreme Court,” the minister told the Qatar-based TV channel. “Our workers will lodge our protest but will not set the building on fire,” she added.

She stressed that election would be held on time. “There is a Constitution, there is a law, that will, of course, take its own course and the elections will happen after we complete the constitutional tenure,” she added.

Talking about former prime minister Imran Khan’s arrest on May 9, she said that there was “no objective” to be achieved by arresting him. She added that the PTI chairman was not attending to his corruption cases.

“Imran Khan was not arrested by the government. It was NAB [the National Accountability Bureau] and according to the law, where he is being investigated for a case of corruption,” she said.

She pointed out that the major corruption cases against the PTI chairman pertained to the foreign funding, Al Qadir Trust, Toshakhana and Tyrian White case. According to the minister, Imran, instead of answering to the cases, resorted to violence.

“Imran Khan is a fascist, and [he is] inciting violence in the country,” she said, referring to the recent ransacking and arson attacks on the public and private properties, including ambulances, metro bus stations and hospitals.

“There were different installations where he had placed people… the entire party leadership was monitoring how many people have reached Jinnah House [the residence of Lahore Corps Commander]”, she added.

“The government acted prudently and exercised restraint. The government does not believe in political victimisation,” the minister told the interviewer. “Political instability is because of Imran Khan’s actions.”

When asked if the internet and social media blackout in the country sounded like martial law, Aurangzeb replied: “What do you expect when a party leader is inciting violence on [the] streets.”

However, the minister stated there was no “miscalculation” on the part of the government or the security agencies, stressing that force was present but “we chose not to use it and dealt with the situation very maturely”.

Responding to a question about economic situation, the minister said Pakistan was in safe hands. “We have successfully dealt with economic challenges in the past,” she said. “The government has the will and experience to lead the country on the path to development.”

Separately, the minister said in a statement on Monday that those who desecrated the memorials of martyrs, attacked sensitive government buildings and set mosques, schools, ambulances and livestock on fire had been arrested.

Reacting to a recent statement of Imran, the minister stated: “Since terrorists, armed groups and gangsters have been arrested, according to the law then whom you are asking to be ready.”

Calling Imran the “mastermind of terrorists and enemy of the country”, the minister said that the PTI chief would not be allowed to reignite the fire he had ignited earlier, while sitting in his Zaman Park residence comfortably.

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