Pakistan: ‘More political than Sheikh Rashid’; Imran responds to spy chief with guns blazing


ISLAMABAD: A day after the military accused Imran Khan of asking the establishment for “unconstitutional” support for his government in the run-up to the contentious vote of no-confidence, the former prime minister took a dig at two top generals, saying their press conference was more “political than Sheikh Rashid”, the chief of Awami Muslim League (AML).

The scathing and unprecedented news conference by the chief military spokesperson and intelligence chief came after Khan upped his criticism of the military, accusing them of plotting his removal in April and supporting the government of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM).

Putting to rest the assumption that he would observe restraint while commenting on the army, Khan thundered at the protest march: “DG ISI, listen carefully, the things I know […] I am staying silent for my institutions and the country. I don’t want to damage my country.”

He referred to the press conference held by Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) Senator Azam Swati earlier in the day in which the latter had revealed the names of the officers from the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency responsible for his custodial torture on him.

“Azam Swati took the names of two people. One is Brigadier Faheem and one is Maj. Gen. Faisal. This Dirty Harry, ever since he has come to Islamabad, he is torturing people,” Khan alleged.

“This Dirty Harry [sic] first picked up Azam illegally, stripped him naked and then tortured him in front of his grandchildren,” he claimed. “Faisal and Faheem did the same with Shahbaz Gill.”

Khan then addressed the army chief and said: “When Bilawal Bhutto gave a statement against the ISI sector commander in Karachi, you removed the official. Remove them [Faisal and Faheem] too now.

“These people are defaming you Gen. Bajwa,” he said.

The former prime minister gathered hundreds of supporters in Liberty Square of Lahore to join a caravan of cars and trucks heading for the capital to pressure the government into calling snap polls.

Khan plans to lead the motorised caravan slowly northwards up the GT Road to Islamabad, drawing more support along the way before entering the capital in a week.

The distance between the two cities is about 380 kilometres. Khan’s entourage is expected to arrive in Islamabad on November 4.