ISLAMABAD: President Arif Alvi Monday debunked his comments related to former army chief General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, saying that he was “wrongly attributed” by the media regarding alleged support extended by the then-army chief to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) during polls.
The President Office issued a statement that said that it has taken notice of the remarks wrongly attributed to Alvi “about the alleged help extended by the former Chief of Army Staff, General (retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa, and his team in the Senate, and their help to PTI during the elections also”.
“The statement has been quoted out of reference to the context and is twisted and self-concocted,” the statement read.
President Alvi’s remarks came during a wide-ranging conversation with journalists, leaders of the business community and foreign diplomats at a dinner on Saturday night.
The president, when asked why and when relations between PTI Chairman Imran Khan and Gen (retd) Bajwa soured, replied wittingly that he was still looking for the answer to this question, but it was probably October last year and then it was April or May this year.
Regarding Khan’s allegations against the former army chief, the president remarked that although the other side maintained they had become neutral and did not push people away, he still believed there was some pushing away.
President Alvi added that during the PTI’s government, even people like Shireen Mazari had to concede they had no power when journalists were mistreated.
He went on to say that there was a lot of interference in the affairs of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). He said politicians’ maturity needed to match the situation.
Replying to a question whether Khan at any stage thought of sacking Gen (retd) Bajwa, the president replied: “No, I don’t think so. That was a rumour.”
During the conversation, President Alvi expressed deep concern and anguish over the release of audios and videos revealing private conversations of political leaders.
The president said he had made it a point to discuss with the new army chief the “game of audios and videos”. “I am surprised why it is going on. It should not continue in any sense of morality,” he said.
President Alvi said he discussed with the army chief the “neutrality” of the armed forces.
The president remarked that if the army had left politics, it was time politicians took charge of the situation. “You [politician] should create a situation where you don’t run to them [army],” he said.