Imran Khan says his only regret was trusting then-Pakistan Army chief Gen Bajwa

Khan is currently lodged in Adiala Jail in connection with several cases

Imran khan on Gen Bajwa (File) Former Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan

Jailed former Pakistan prime minister Imran Khan has said that his only regret from his time in office was trusting Gen (retd.) Qamar Javed Bajwa, accusing the former army chief of single-handedly spreading "stories" about him to secure a second extension as the military head.

Khan, 71, who was ousted from power in April 2022 via the opposition's no-confidence motion, had blamed Gen Bajwa for playing a vital role against his government.

Khan, the founder of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, who is currently lodged at Adiala Jail in connection with several cases, slammed Pakistan's political and military leaders with a special focus on his friend-turned-foe Gen Bajwa, Dawn newspaper reported, citing Khan's interview with journalist Mehdi Hasan for Zeteo that was published on Wednesday.

The interview was conducted through a letter Mehdi sent with questions for Khan, and the journalist was not allowed to ask follow-up questions, the paper said.

"I am certain that this ordeal was orchestrated by General Bajwa. I hold no one else responsible. He meticulously planned and executed this scheme, presenting himself as a deceitful figure, creating lies and false narratives to cause national and international chaos all to secure his extension," Khan said in response to a question on who he blames for his imprisonment.

Khan said as the prime minister he had approved an extension for Gen Bajwa for another three years in 2019, barely three months before the army chief was set to retire. However, in a 2022 interview with Bol News, Khan said he committed a mistake by granting the extension.

"He (Bajwa) utterly failed to grasp the detrimental impact of his actions on democracy and Pakistan, Khan said in his interview.

When asked whether he still believed the administration of US President Joe Biden was involved in a coup to remove him from office, Khan put the blame firmly and solely on ex-chief of army staff Bajwa.

General Bajwa single-handedly spread stories about me to countries like the US, painting me as anti-American or uninterested in good relations with them, he said.

His insatiable thirst for power rendered him unpredictable, Imran said, adding that [Gen Bajwa's] personal greed turned him into a bull in a china shop.

The former cricketer-turned-politician said that he has consistently fought for the rule of law in Pakistan, adding that if justice were served equally, there would be no need for someone like him in the country's politics.

"General Bajwa's poison may have had a short-term effect, but it will not last, Khan said.

Most countries view our army as a stabilising force in a volatile political landscape. When the chief of this one constant' uses brute force and deceit, it becomes difficult for many countries to speak out.

I don't mind if no one speaks about my treatment, but the world should raise its voice for democracy and the 250 million people of Pakistan, whose mandate has been stolen in broad daylight.

Since the February 8 general elections - which his party was unable to contest - Khan has maintained that he was ready for any potential dialogue after the stolen mandate was returned, referring to alleged rigging in the elections.

The ruling coalition of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz and the Pakistan Peoples Party has invited Khan's party to abandon its street protests and engage in "meaningful" dialogue with the government.

When asked whether he recognised the current government, Khan said it lacks legitimacy, and that PML-N barely won any seats in Parliament.

Khan has been in jail since August last year after being convicted in some of the nearly 200 cases slapped on him since his ouster in April 2022.


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