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Thursday, May 16, 2024

DG ISPR sets the record straight on Pakistan’s key issues

While responding to a question regarding the United States asking for operational bases in Pakistan and former prime minister Imran Khan’s reply of “absolutely not”, the military spokesperson said, “if bases were asked for, the army would have the same stance”.

Director-General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar has debunked several rumors currently making the rounds in Pakistan. In a hard-hitting press conference, DG ISPR clarified the Army’s stance regarding Pakistan’s recent political events.

Important to note, Pakistan has brimmed with intense political activity over the past few weeks. Leading up to the ousting of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, rumors spread like wildfire, especially regarding the Army’s role. Moreover, it led to several negative social media campaigns against the Army.

Firstly, while responding to a question about the BBC report on events that took place at the Prime Minister’s House on the night of Imran Khan’s ouster from power, Maj Gen Babar said that it is a “false story and nothing but a pack of lies”.

“The Army has nothing to do with the political process that took place a few days back in the country,” he iterated. “Do not drag the army into political matters.”

Moreover, in the same line, he asserted that there will never be a martial law in Pakistan. He noted that democracy was the only way forward.

Secondly, regarding the National Security Committee last month, DG ISPR said the word “conspiracy” was not used. He made the comments when a journalist questioned him about the army leadership’s stance on Imran Khan’s claim of a foreign conspiracy to oust him and whether the NSC had endorsed such a claim.

“Is there any word such as conspiracy used in it? I think not,” DG ISPR said. He also refused to give further details about the meeting.

Read more: Like ZAB, is there an int’l conspiracy against PM Khan?

Gen. Bajwa to retire on November 29, 2022

Another important point DG ISPR talked about was COAS Bajwa’s retirement. Important to note, earlier there were various reports regarding alleged rifts between Gen. Bajwa and Imran Khan over the former’s next extension. However, DG ISPR asserted that COAS Bajwa is neither asking for an extension nor will he accept it.

“He [Gen. Bajwa] will retire on time on November 29, 2022,” Gen. Iftikhar said.

Moving on, while responding to a question regarding the United States asking for operational bases in Pakistan and former prime minister Imran Khan’s reply of “absolutely not”, the military spokesperson said, “if bases were asked for, the army would have the same stance”.

“The US did not even ask for bases and there was no mention of it on any level,” Major Gen Babar Iftikhar said.

Read more: Instability began after ‘Absolutely Not’: Shahbaz Gill

Important to note, the previous government had built the narrative that because Imran Khan refused to give bases to the US, the US launched an international conspiracy.

Meanwhile, talking about the former premier’s visit to Russia, Gen. Iftikhar confirmed that all institutions were onboard on it and the previous government took the Army into confidence.

Overall, the DG ISPR condemned the propaganda campaign by some quarters to malign the Pakistan Army. He also asked political leadership to not malign the army chief.