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Imran Khan had once opposed extension for army chief. Today, he’s given one

Imran Khan, as opposition leader, had opposed extension to then Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani on the grounds that such actions weakened a country's institutions.

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New Delhi: As opposition leader, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan had famously called for the “rule of law” to be followed in opposing an extension to the country’s former Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani.

“In the First World War and the Second World War, no General got an extension,” Khan had said in an interview to the Express News Channel in Pakistan, arguing that rules being bent for one person weakens a system while insisting that only dictators do it.

On Monday, however, the prime minister appeared to have forgotten his own words in granting a three-year extension to incumbent Army Chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa.

In a notification, personally signed by Khan, the Pakistani government has defended the decision, saying “it has been taken in view of the regional security environment”.

Bajwa, appointed in November 2016 by then-PM Nawaz Sharif, was due to retire in November 2019. There is a feeling in Indian circles that his extension will see the Pakistani Army’s policy towards India to get more rigid when it comes to supporting terror.

Khan argued for institutions

In stark contrast, Khan had then argued against granting extensions, saying they weakened institutions. “When you break rules for an individual… Gen Musharraf did it, dictators do it, he destroys that institution.”

He further said that it is important in Pakistan to make the institutions stronger and make the systems more powerful.

When asked specifically if he would oppose if an extension is given to Kayani, he said the rule of law applied to all, be it Army or the judiciary. “Rule of law should be followed,” he said.

Below is the transcript of the Imran Khan interview:

Khan: Even during the time of the First and Second World Wars, nobody was given any extension. When you are breaking the law, you destroy institutions and go beyond the realms of law as other dictators including General Musharaf did.

If we have to save this country, we have to strengthen our institutions and society and this is possible only when our law is strengthened.

(Journalist: Do you think General Ashfaq Parvez Kiyani should not have been granted an extension?)

No general nor judge should get an extension because it will weaken the respective organisation. See how much General Pervez Musharraf weakened the army, whereas, in Pakistan, the army is given highest regard. There should be a unifying law which should bind all the citizens in equal measures.

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  1. Given a choice, PM Imran Khan would not have done this. We see so many extensions in the bureaucracy as well, when for each officer who completes his tenure, there are at least three contenders of equal merit waiting to succeed him.

  2. Imran is in a long line of selected PMs, he is a puppet of GHQ Rawalpindi, the whole world knows it and can see through the hilarious charade. No world leader pays heed to what Imran says or does, they know where the remote control lies and who the real operator is. Bajwa most likely just gave himself three more years, he is the uncrowned badshah of the jihadi republic of Pakistan

  3. Just to set the matter straight, Bajwa has allowed Imran Khan to stay as PM for the time being.
    Mr Imran Khan Niazi has no power to decide on extension of Bajwa’s position. So on this issue, you cannot blame IKN to be U Turn Khan Niazi.

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