Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan has urged President Arif Alvi to institute an “immediate” inquiry against former Army chief Gen. (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa, claiming recent information has made it “clear” the retired general “repeatedly” violated his oath of office.
In a letter, dated Feb. 14 but made public on Thursday, the ousted prime minister refers to “some very disturbing information” that is now available in the public domain. Narrating a recent column of journalist Javed Chaudhry, in which he cited the former Army chief as telling him that “we” considered Imran Khan dangerous for Pakistan if he remained in power, the PTI chief says it must be determined who this “we” refers to. “The question that arises is who gave him the power to decide that an elected P.M. was supposedly a “danger to the country if he continued to stay in power,” he writes, adding that only the public has the right to decide who they will elect as prime minister. “Taking such a right on himself is in clear violation of his oath as given in Third Schedule, Article 244 of the Constitution,” he stresses. Chaudhry, it must be noted, has claimed that his column has been “misconstrued.”
Additionally, writes Khan while referring to the same column, Bajwa has “admitted he managed to get NAB case against Shaukat Tarin dismissed revealing that NAB was under his control—again a clear violation of the constitutional oath because the Army itself is a department under the Ministry of Defense and civilian official autonomous institutions do not come [under] military control.”
The PTI chief further refers to a YouTube video posted by Aftab Iqbal, claiming he was told by Gen. (retd.) Bajwa that the latter had audios of his conversations with Khan from when he was the prime minister. “This is a serious violation again of his oath and violation of fundamental human rights. The question is why and under what authorization was Gen. Bajwa recording confidential conversations?”
The last “serious violation” of Gen. (retd.) Bajwa’s oath, per the letter, is the former Army chief publicly disagreeing with his government’s policy of maintaining neutrality in the Russia-Ukraine conflict. “He did this at an international conference in Islamabad on April 2, 2022—the Islamabad Security Conference,” he says, adding that the government policy was determined after consensus of all stakeholders.
“I would also like to point out that Chapter II of the Constitution describes the mandate of the armed forces and specifically refers to articles 243 and 244. Therefore it is your constitutional duty as president and as supreme commander of the armed forces to take immediate action and institute an inquiry so as to establish whether such grave violations of the Constitution and oath of office under the Constitution have taken place,” the letter concludes.
The “break-up” between Khan and Bajwa has become a media talking point since the latter’s retirement, when the PTI chief started to openly accused the former Army chief of conspiring against his government. Claiming the “same page” that the PTI had touted while in government was ripped asunder after Bajwa’s tenure as Army chief was extended, Khan has accused him of any number of offenses, from plotting to oust his government to hampering accountability and interfering in legislation.