Netizens slam Asif Zardari for insulting Lt. Gen Faiz Hameed

Following Asif Zardari's controversial statement, netizens came out in fierce support of Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

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Netizens are heavily criticizing PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari for insulting ex-ISI chief and incumbent Peshawar Corps Commander Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

To clarify, during a press conference Wednesday, the PPP leader mocked Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. Asif Zardari said, “Faiz Hameed bichara Khady Line Hogya Hy” (Poor Faiz Hameed has been cornered).

He, however, appreciated the armed forces for being neutral amid the latest political changes. Moreover, the top PPP leader also expressed the hope that Pakistan’s armed forces would continue to be ‘apolitical’.

Read more: Can Faiz Hameed be next Army Chief of Pakistan?

Interestingly, Asif Zardari’s statement comes after Defence Minister Khawaja Asif’s explosive interview with BBC Urdu on the appointment of the next Chief of Army Staff.

Responding to a question about Lt Gen Faiz Hameed, Khawaja Asif said the government would ‘definitely consider’ him for the coveted post if his name was on the seniority list.

Khawaja Asif also maintained that the appointment of Chief of Armed Forces must be institutionalised like the judiciary where the senior-most judge takes charge.

It seems as if Asif Zardari’s statements are in stark contrast to Khawaja Asif’s. Nevertheless, Asif Zardari is receiving a lot of criticism on social media for mocking Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Netizens demand action

Following Asif Zardari’s controversial statement, netizens came out in fierce support of Lt Gen Faiz Hameed. They also condemned his “character assassination”. Furthermore, netizens demanded that the Army should take action and that DG-ISPR should also issue an official statement.

“I strongly condemn the character assassination of Lt General Faiz Hameed. He is an officer of high reputation and exemplary professionalism,” one Twitterati wrote.

Some netizens even criticized the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for its inaction against such statements. To clarify, the FIA announced that it will take strict action against people responsible for any negative social media campaign targetting others. Interestingly, some journalists complained of FIA harassing them for criticizing state institutions.

Read more: Sami Ibrahim likely to be arrested upon his return

Similarly, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz, while addressing a rally in Fateh Jang, too had lashed out at Lt Gen Faiz Hameed.

Referring to Imran Khan’s recent podcast appearance where he said the intelligence chief was the “eyes and ears” of the government, Maryam had said: “We know that he wasn’t your eyes and ears [rather] he was your hands through which you throttled your political opponents.”

As a result of the intense criticism, ISPR issued a press release following Maryam Nawaz’s public rally.

“This practice of unsubstantiated, defamatory and provocative statements/remarks is extremely damaging,” the ISPR said.

In short, the Army on numerous occasions has taken a strong exception to intensified and deliberate attempts to drag its name into the country’s ongoing political discourse.