Whispers that Imran may target & even sack COAS Bajwa

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‘Whisperers’ in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), the country’s ruling party, have said that Prime Minister Imran Khan may target and even sack Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa and appoint a senior non-controversial figure to take his side and bail him out, the Friday Times reported.

This is however, a very risky proposition.

In 1972, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto sacked the army and air force chiefs and got away with it only because he did it in a cloak and dagger manner when both forces were reeling in the aftermath of the Bangladesh crisis and war, said the Friday Times report.

But the Empire hit back in 1977 when his hand-picked army chief, General Zia ul Haq, sent him packing and later hanged him.

Nawaz Sharif sacked General Jehangir Karamat for a minor slip-up but General Pervez Musharraf repaid the institutional compliment in 1999 and made the former Prime Minister suffer for a decade.

This time round, if such a situation were to arise, there is no knowing how General Bajwa and his corps commanders will react.

But one thing is certain: the decision to become “neutral” in today’s charged political environment is an institutional Miltablishment decision and not a personal one, the report said.

There are powerful reasons for this stance. The military establishment has realised that its hybrid experiment led by Khan has come a cropper, in the bargain discrediting the institution hugely.

Now when the public mood is rabidly anti-PTI, as every survey of public opinion shows, it simply can’t afford to be seen to embrace Khan.

A significant number of PTI MNAs are not the only ones bolting to the Opposition’s stables.

The Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, who is reputed to be responsible for some bad advice and decisions, has hurriedly made plans to escape to safer pastures.

A number of special assistants, advisers and ministers were also readying to flee, claimed the Friday Times report.

The Opposition has now demonstrated an absolute majority of over 172 MNA votes to clinch a successful vote of no confidence against Khan’s PTI government.

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