ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief and former Prime Minister Imran Khan on Wednesday warned that he would not let Nawaz Sharif decide the selection of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) and reiterated his demand that the selection should be done on merit.
"The army chief should be selected on "merit" and the "thieves" should never be allowed to undertake the task," Imran Khan said while addressing a lawyers' convention in Lahore, reported The Nation.
He also announced that the party would begin its 'Haqeeqi Azadi' movement on Saturday, "I will give a call and we will get our country liberated in real terms," said Khan. Imran's announcement comes after the incumbent government of Pakistan beefed up security arrangements in Red Zone areas of Islamabad, saying that "some people were headed towards Islamabad to have their political demands accepted".
In his address yesterday, the PTI chief again said that those "issuing threats from unknown numbers" should be threatened back -- something he had first mentioned in his speech in Chakwal on Monday, reported The Nation.
Earlier on Monday, while addressing a rally in Chakwal, PTI Chief said that when he says that the army chief should be selected on merit, it means Pakistan People's Party and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz should not get to select the next COAS as they are the most corrupt people and do not rely on merit.
"Army chief should be appointed on merit and I believe only those nations prosper which follow merit. DG ISPR, you should have got me right about [army chief appointment comments]," said Imran while referring to his controversial remarks that angered the military.
"So if you want a prosperous Pakistan, the country that Quaid-e-Azam and Allama Iqbal had dreamed of, you must come out when I give the call," said Imran Khan.
He criticised the incumbent government for its economic policies, saying the rupee had greatly depreciated against the dollar and caused inflation and unemployment to soar. He alleged that while the poor people were suffering, the wealth of those in the government was increasing.
On Tuesday, Imran Khan said that the decision over the appointment of the Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) is taken after consulting with the "convict", referring to Pakistan Muslim League (N) supremo Nawaz Sharif. Calling Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, "Crime Minister", Imran Khan on Twitter said, "Crime Minister discussing appt of COAS & any other state matter with convict Nawaz Sharif & Ministers declaring they will appt COAS after consulting Nawaz Sharif are all in contravention not only of the Official Secrets Act (section 5:1) but also of their oaths of office."
Since his ouster from the top office, Imran has consistently demanded that a date for "fair and free" snap elections be provided, otherwise, he would take to the streets against the incumbent government. He also bemoaned the rule of law and unequal application of justice in the country compared to Western countries, reported The Nation.
"The law enforcement agencies whose job is to implement the rule of law are the ones breaking the law and committing injustice against the people," Imran said while criticising the recent clampdown on some journalists who were thought to be pro-PTI.