Lahore - Prime Minister Imran Khan yesterday expressed his wonder over the rumours about the matter of Army Chief Qamar Javed Bajwa’s service extension which have been circulating for quite few weeks.

“Within three months of my assuming the premiership, I had decided that Gen Bajwa will remain the army chief,” the prime minister said while talking to a TV channel.

The prime minister said that he has found in Gen Bajwa the best Chief of Army Staff (COAS). He said he has not seen anyone else to be so balanced and democratic in nature.

“We [the civilian government] have not been able to do as much in the foreign and domestic affairs as General Bajwa has done for the internal and external security of the country. I am proud that Gen Bajwa is my Army Chief.”

Asked if, being the prime minister, he should have ridiculed PPP Co-chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari by mimicking him, Imran Khan admitted it was not a good thing to do. But he asked if someone who has been in politics for 12 years should belittle the death of 30 people through electrocution in Sindh by presenting it as something insignificant by commenting that “there’s more water when there’s rain”.

To a question about his comments about Fazlur Rehman, the prime minister asked if the JUI-F chief had not made an underhand deal on Kashmir Committee. He said he was slated on the container of the JUI-F march, dubbed an agent of the Jews, painted as a heretic, and called a stooge and ‘selected’ prime minister. All this made him angry and he vent out his anger, he said. However, the PM said he has decided to not issue any derogatory remarks for anyone in future.

When asked he had made any offer to Fazlur Rehman, the prime minster burst into a laughter and said that there was no cure to falsehood. He asked why would he offer any deal to JUI-F chief in the first place. Why did the JUI-F people packed their bags and left the protest venue, he asked. Why did they not stay put, he further questioned.

“I am a sit-in specialist, I know that staging a long sit-in is not an easy thing.” Imran Khan offered the opposition parties to come again and stage a sit-in. He said that Maulana would leave his supporters to face rain and he would return in the evening to deliver his speech. How could such a man lead a protest, he asked. He said that Fazl was making double-meaning comments but he keeps ignoring it.

When the questioner sought his views about the speculations being made by some journalists that his government would see a pack up in March or April, the prime minister quipped that they must have been talking about the months of 2025. The prime minister said that his government has no threat from foreign funding case and they will complete their tenure. He said such rumours keep making rounds but he was not worried about his government at all as it stood at strong footing. Some people just don’t like his face, but they will have to tolerate him for another three years, the PM added.

Asked about the happiest and saddest moments for him during the 16 months of his premiership, he said he felt thrilled when Pakistan shot down an Indian plain and he felt very sad when curfew was imposed in the Indian Occupied Kashmir.

The prime minister said he also feels very sad when he learns about the miseries of the common man because of price hike. He said he wanted to do three things by 2025, when the government tenure will end. “I want to make this country an investment hub. I want to revolutionise agriculture, and want to see the industry booming.” The prime minster claimed that people would see some huge changes in the next two weeks.

PM, COAS discuss issues

Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan at the PM’s office on Thursday, reported private TV channels.

This was the second meeting between the two civilian and military leaders in one week. Gen Bajwa had also called on Prime Minister on Nov 15 to discuss the country’s security situation and other matters.

Both the leaders discussed national security and professional affairs of the army. General Bajwa also shared updates on Iran visit.

The meetings is important in the backdrop of Kashmir situation, Afghan peace process, internal security and socio-economic situation of the country.