LAHORE: PML-Q leader Moonis Elahi has claimed that former army chief retired Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa had advised his party to support the PTI in a weeks-long tussle that ended with the ouster of Imran Khan as the prime minister through a no-confidence vote in April.
Moonis — who was a federal minister during the PTI’s tenure and whose party has remained Imran’s key ally, even at the cost of rifts within the PML-Q — made the claim during Hum News programme ‘Hum Meher Bokhari Kay Sath’ on Thursday night.
“At present, a certain section on social media has been bashing Bajwa sahib without any reason. He is the same Bajwa sahib who had bent the direction of the river’s flow for the PTI,” Moonis said, adding that he had had a disagreement on this with the PTI and anyone else speaking against the retired army chief.
He went on to say that a man “went all out for you (PTI)”, but now that he had retired, “he has become bad”.
“Had he been bad, he wouldn’t have asked us to back Imran.”
When Bokhari sought clarification on whether Gen Bajwa had asked them to support Imran, Moonis elaborated: “When the decision was being taken on which way we have to go, we had received offers from both sides — mian sahiban [Sharif family], the PDM (Pakistan Democratic Movement), as well as the PTI.
“Obviously, as everyone knows, my inclination was towards the PTI. There’s no doubt about it.”
Moonis continued, “I then had a discussion with walid sahib (his father, Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi) and walid sahib had a talk with them (an apparent reference to the military establishment).
“They said, ‘It is my wish that you side with them (PTI)’. Had that man (Gen Bajwa) been bad, why would he have asked us to side with them at that critical juncture … Had that man been that bad and against Khan sahib and the PTI, […] he only had to give a signal at that juncture and we would have gone the other way.
“This is why I don’t even buy this story that he is against [the PTI],” he added.
Moonis’ claim has come as PTI leaders intensified their criticism of Gen Bajwa following his retirement.