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Is PML-N trying to fool the nation with ‘respect the vote’ slogan?

DG ISPR Major General Babar Iftikhar has confirmed the meeting between Muhammad Zubair and COAS. General Bajwa made it clear that “the armed forces must be kept away from politics”. Has the army refused to offer any NRO?

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Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Babar Iftikhar late on Wednesday confirmed the meeting between Muhammad Zubair, former governor Sindh and a senior leader of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), and Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Qamar Javed Bajwa. The confirmation has raised some questions about the narrative the former ruling party is trying to establish after the All Parties Conference (APC) held in Islamabad last week.

The confirmation becomes important as it comes hours after Maryam Nawaz said that no representative of Nawaz met the army leadership ahead of the APC. She was speaking to media outside the Islamabad High Court (IHC). A journalist had asked her if Nawaz’s representative met the COAS before the APC.

Maryam Nawaz also maintained that no political leader should meet the military leadership to discuss political matters. “Every political matter should be discussed in Parliament. There is no need to meet any military leader,” she added. Some analysts are of the view that the confirmation of the meeting between the COAS and a senior PML-N leader has “seriously damaged” PML-N’s public image.

Read More: Khan’s idealism or JKT’s realism?

Zubair met COAS, DG ISI

While speaking exclusively with ARY News, DG ISPR said yesterday that both meetings between Zubair and the COAS were held on the request of PML-N stalwart. He said that matters related to PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his daughter Maryam Nawaz were discussed in both meetings.

“The first meeting between COAS and Muhammad Zubair was held in the last week of August and the second one was held on September 7,” said Major General Babar Iftikhar said. He further said that Army chief Gen Bajwa categorically told former Sindh governor Zubair Umar that all legal matters will be solved in courts, while matters pertaining to political issues will be solved in the parliament.

The DG ISPR further said that COAS Bajwa told Zubair Umar to “keep the army away from these matters”. Director-General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant General Faiz Hamid was also present in both meetings held between PML-N leader Zubair Umar and army chief, added Maj Gen Iftikhar.

 

Who is fooling whom?

Nawaz Sharif, PML-N’s supremo who was disqualified from office for not being honest and truthful, has been leading an anti-establishment narrative, Vote ko Izzat do, with a view to seek public support. Sources claim that Shehbaz Sharif, PML-N’s president and leader of opposition in the National Assembly, always opposed the politics of confrontation, and advised both Maryam and Nawaz not to cross the red line.

However, his advice was ignored for the one obvious reason that he might have a wish to lead the party to become prime minister of Pakistan in the future, sources added. Dr. Moeed Pirzada, a prominent anchorperson and political commentator, asked a question in his talk-show Hard Talk Pakistan on 92 channel; is the PML-N trying to fool the nation and its followers?

Mazhar Abbas, a prominent journalist, also said that “it is good that DG ISPR, has named PML (N) leader who net not once but twice with army chief and discussed Nawaz and Maryam’s cases. Zubair’s version was too weak. The PML (N) has to come out with an explanation or admit NRO request.”

Political analysts are of the view that the media perception that the APC had laid down the foundation of a new era of politics in Pakistan was not only misleading but also ‘worrying’. Khawar Ghuman, a prominent political commentator, said that “after the latest turn of events, genuinely feeling sorry for the political commentators who described PAC and particularly Nawaz Sharif’s speech as beginning of new era of politics in Pakistan. May God almighty keep country safe”.

Read more: Is the Opposition looking for yet another NRO by targeting establishment?

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