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Days After Imran Khan's Tirade, Pakistan’s Army Chief Sides With US, Slams Russia For Ukraine Op

© AP Photo / Anjum NaveedPakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa attends a military parade to mark Pakistan National Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.
Pakistan's Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa attends a military parade to mark Pakistan National Day in Islamabad, Pakistan, Wednesday, March 23, 2022.  - Sputnik International, 1920, 02.04.2022
It is often said that it is the army that rules the roost in Pakistan and only a leader who has close ties with the country's powerful military establishment can survive in their position for long. This may appear to be true in the case of Imran Khan, who is possibly no longer in the good books of the nation's generals.
Days after Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan accused the United States of plotting to remove him from power, the country's Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Gen. Qamar Bajwa has come out in support of Washington, as he called for a "cessation of hostilities" in Ukraine.

Gen. Bajwa's stance is in stark contrast to PM Khan's over the crisis in Ukraine, as the cricketer-turned-politician has openly sided with Russia on the matter.

Khan visited the Eurasian country on 24 February, the same day President Vladimir Putin announced the launch of a special military operation in Ukraine.

Speaking at an event in Pakistan's capital Islamabad, the COAS suggested that Russia's military operation in Ukraine was a "great tragedy", before claiming that President Vladimir Putin's forces had destroyed "half" of the Eastern European nation.

Expressing deep anguish over the conflict, Gen. Bajwa insisted that while Pakistan understood Russia's concerns were legitimate vis-à-vis Ukraine becoming a part of the US-led NATO, the attack on a much smaller neighbour couldn't be justified.

"Pakistan has consistently called for an immediate ceasefire and cessation of hostilities. We support immediate dialogue between all sides to find a lasting solution to the conflict", he said.

On Friday, an embattled Khan whose government is on the verge of collapse as it faces a no-confidence motion on Sunday took a veiled dig at the US, saying that a "powerful country" was unhappy with Pakistan's growing proximity with Russia.

Khan's swipe against the US came a day after he accused the Biden administration of instigating the no-confidence motion against him, in what was a no-holds barred attack on his country's former ally.

As things stand at the moment, Khan's government enjoys the support of 164 members of Pakistan's National Assembly.

On the other hand, major opposition parties, including the PML (N) and Pakistan People's Party (PPP), seem to have the edge in their pursuit to dislodge Khan's government as they now have a combined strength of 177 lawmakers.
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