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Imran Khan Accuses Gov't of Conspiring to Trigger Rift Between Army and PTI

© AP Photo / K.M. ChaudaryA supporter of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan holds flags near his house, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 17, 2023.
A supporter of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan holds flags near his house, in Lahore, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 17, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 18.05.2023
Former Pakistan premier Imran Khan's relations with the Shehbaz Sharif government and the country's army have hit a nadir of late.
Ex-Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has accused the Shehbaz Sharif-led government of plotting to trigger tensions between his party, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), and the nation's all-powerful Army, local media reported on Thursday.
Khan added that the conspiracy was hatched to spread dislike for him and the PTI in the minds of ordinary Pakistanis. However, he warned that such a move could lead to the disintegration of the Islamic country.

"The PDM leaders and Nawaz Sharif, who is absconding in London, are least concerned whether the country's constitution is desecrated, state institutions are destroyed or even Pakistan Army earns a bad name. They are looking for their vested interests of saving the looted wealth alone," the PTI leader said in a video message to his supporters. "I am seeing a frightening dream that the country is heading towards an imminent disaster."

Khan, who ruled Pakistan from August 2018 to April 2022 before being ousted through a vote of confidence, asserted that the "political instability" in the country could only be brought to an end through early elections.
"I appeal to the powers that be to let the elections take place and save the country," Khan noted.
The 1992 Cricket World Cup captain further claimed that he was not against the Pakistan Army before stating that he had defended the institution on several occasions in the past and his current criticism of the military was like of a father criticizing his children.
"When I reprimand the army, it is like I am criticising my kids," he asserted.
Imran Khan in the court - Sputnik India, 1920, 17.05.2023
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Khan's softening of the stand against the army came hours after differences cropped up between him and senior PTI politician Fawad Chaudhry, who is also the political outfit's Senior Vice-President.
Unlike Khan, who has resisted calls to denounce the violent protests that shook Pakistan following the PTI chief's arrest last week, Chaudhry had strong words to say about the arsonists who attacked military institutions and damaged public and private property.
"As a spokesperson of the PTI, I think these events were very shameful. Those involved in the incidents, whether they belong to the PTI or not, should be punished after an inquiry," the former federal minister told reporters in Islamabad this week.
While Khan appeared to be changing his position about the Pakistan military, the South Asian nation's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir issued a warning to the former PM's supporters and his party members on Wednesday.
Munir said that those who "planned and orchestrated tragic incidents" of last week, including a mob attack on the Pakistan Army's headquarters in Rawalpindi, would not be spared and put behind bars soon.
He resolved to never allow such acts of violence where military installations were torched by Khan's supporters to take place again.
"No one will be allowed to disrespect our martyrs and their monuments. They are a source of inspiration and pride for the rank and file of the Armed Forces, Law Enforcement Agencies, Government officials, and the people of Pakistan," the Pakistan Army chief, who was on a tour of the Sialkot Garrison, concluded.