Asad Umar, Pakistan’s Minister for Planning, Development & Special Initiatives, has revealed that he never heard the Army Chief’s name from Mohammad Zubair, Umar’s brother and a senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). “At least I never heard General Bajwa’s name from Zubair before the former’s appointment as the Amry Chief,” Umar told Arshad Sharif on ARY News.
محمد زبیر اور آرمی چیف کی چالیس سال پرانی دوستی کی کہانی اسد عمر کی زبانی۔۔ pic.twitter.com/oLhtImtlO9
— Adeel Raja (@adeelraja) October 29, 2020
The matter of the military leadership meeting politicians remained in the news for past several weeks. Nawaz Sharif’s anti-establishment narrative faced a major blow when the head of the Pakistan Army’s media wing said senior PML-N leader Mohammad Zubair held two meetings with Army Chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa in recent weeks about former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz.
Inter-Services Intelligence chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was also present during the two meetings, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said, both of which were “requested” by Zubair, a former Sindh governor.
Read More: Muhammad Zubair met with COAS twice: DG ISPR
The two meetings were held in the last week of August and on September 7, said Maj Gen Iftikhar, who was speaking to Arshad Sharif on ARY News. The ISPR chief was asked to comment on reports of politicians meeting the military leadership and claims that no PML-N leader was part of the reported meetings. “In both meetings he (Zubair) talked about Mian Nawaz Sharif sahib and Maryam Nawaz sahiba,” Maj Gen Iftikhar said.
Zubair’s personal ties with Gen Bajwa
Zubair, while talking to Geo’s Shahzeb Khanzada, said he has had personal ties with COAS Bajwa for more than 40 years. “There’s nothing unusual about the meeting,” he said when asked about the DG ISPR’s remarks.
Gen. Qamar Bajwa is an old friend & not only that I have met him many times as a friend but our families have also been meeting cordially over dinners etc. In my most recent meeting with him economy, politics & ofc MNS & MN all came under discussion. No relief was ever requested
— Mohammad Zubair (@Real_MZubair) September 23, 2020
Despite his close ties with the army chief, Zubair said he never approached Gen Bajwa when the PML-N was facing difficulties.
He also said he never broached issues related to elections or to Nawaz Sharif with the COAS. “As a friend, I thought I should brief him (Bajwa) on the state of economy of Pakistan and issues of governance. But at the outset of the meeting I told him in clear words that I had not come to seek relief for anyone in my party, neither had I come on the request of anyone — neither Nawaz nor anyone else.”
Notably, DG ISPR also said the COAS made it clear to the PML-N leader that legal issues should have been resolved in the courts while for the political issues the appropriate platform was the parliament. The COAS also asked Zubair not to involve the Pakistan Army in such issues.