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Pak army chief Bajwa’s back- to- back meet with PM Khan and President Alvi signals political churn

General Bajwa called on the Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan to discuss 'professional matters pertaining to the Pakistan Army' (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@PTIofficial)

In a rare and unprecedented protocol, the all powerful Pakistani army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa met the Pakistan’s President and Prime Minister  on the same day.  According to Pakistani media, this was a rare occasion which had generated a curiosity among the Pakistani observers.

While Imran Khan’s office said in a statement that General Bajwa called on the PM Khan to discuss “professional matters pertaining to the Pakistan Army.” the President’s office said that “both had a focused discussion on the recent terror incidents in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa”.

According to Pakistani daily Dawn,  there have been just two publicly disclosed meetings between the two since October 26 last year– the day Bajwa’s favourite Lt .Gen. Nadeem Anjum was announced as the new director general of ISI after three weeks of a standoff between Bajwa and Imran Khan over the appointment of Pakistan's new spymaster. Since then the split is wide open between the two.

According to Pakistani sources, in a core commanders meeting held last week, Pakistan’s top generals expressed their unhappiness and told Gen. Bajwa that while the military establishment “selected” Imran Khan as the Prime Minister, the incumbent  has not been able to govern the country. And now the army is being blamed for the mess in Pakistan. They told the Army Chief that “we are being called a hybrid regime and everyone is laughing at us.”

There are reports that Bajwa is trying to explore all possibilities to replace Imran Khan but not unconstitutionally. He has been in touch with the two major opposition parties, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League (PML-N), which are part of the combined opposition front Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) to oust Imran Khan.

The PDM is also set to bring a no confidence vote against the Imran Khan government in the coming National Assembly which is scheduled to start from February 18.

According to Pakistani observers, opposition parties need a magic figure of 172 votes to oust the Khan government in the house of 342 parliamentarians. The opposition claims that they are short of 10 members in order to muster the required strength and this can come if allies of Imran Khan decides to vote against him.

“The opposition and Imran Khan know very well that the deciding factor will be the role of the military establishment. The opposition says it just wants the establishment to remain neutral,” says one Pakistani journalist adding that  “the coming days are crucial for Imran Khan.”

And Imran Khan too knows this. He is not sitting idle. He has experience in street fights using the religious colours. 

“I warn you if I am out of the government, I will be more dangerous to you. Till now I was watching the situation. If I come out on the street then you would not have any place to hide because people have seen your true colours,” Imran Khan said in a live television TV show last month. The message was for both – the opposition parties as well as for the military establishment.

Imran Khan has another option – dissolve the parliament and seek fresh elections.

Also Read: I would be more dangerous if forced to step down, says cornered Imran Khan