News Analysis |
In the latest development, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Wednesday clarified that Prime Minister Imran Khan’s remarks in Tehran that terrorists had in the past misused Pakistani territory to undertake attacks against Iran had been taken “largely out of context”. In a statement, the PM Office noted that there had been a lot of debate about the premier’s statement on the use of Pakistani soil.
According to the PM Office, linking Prime Minister Imran’s statement to any other context is an “effort to misinterpret the expression which doesn’t serve Pakistan in any way.”
It is important to note that the opposition has severally criticized PM Khan for his alleged improper remarks in Tehran. Maryam Nawaz, daughter of former PM Nawaz Sharif, grilled PM Khan and said “Vilifying & defaming your own country on foreign soil, sitting with foreign leaders, does not find a parallel in the national and diplomatic history. Imagine what the Iranian leadership would be thinking!”
Vilifying & defaming your own country on foreign soil, sitting with foreign leaders, does not find a parallel in the national and diplomatic history. Imagine what the Iranian leadership would be thinking! pic.twitter.com/yaOhI0u4Pf
— Maryam Nawaz Sharif (@MaryamNSharif) April 23, 2019
Opposition Denounces PM’s Statement
Two days ago, the PML-N MNA Khurram Dastagir Khan drew the attention of the national assembly towards the reported statement of the prime minister and said that “no prime minister has ever made such a confession on foreign soil,” Mr. Dastagir said, adding that only a day earlier, “the foreign minister had stated that terrorists had entered from Iran to carry out activities in Balochistan.”
He said the International Monetary Fund has already linked the bailout package for Islamabad with the findings of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). PPP MNA and former Foreign Minister of Pakistan Ms. Hina Rabbani Khar, who has previously served as the country’s foreign minister, was unforgiving in her criticism of Prime Minister Imran’s statements. “We are worried for the country after seeing it continually become a laughing stock,” she said.
“This is not funny anymore. You cannot play with the destiny of this country anymore.” She angrily said that “you cannot make these stupid statements and expect us to stand behind you”. However, Human Rights Minister Mazari said the opposition had quoted only one part of the premier’s statement. She said that after acknowledging that Pakistan’s soil had been used for terrorist activities in Iran in the past, the prime minister had clearly stated that terrorists had recently come from Iran to carry out attacks in Balochistan.
According to Foreign Minister of Pakistan, Mr. Shah Mehmood Qureshi said that recently 14 people were killed by the terrorists who came from Iran. At least 14 people were killed in an ambush on several buses travelling between Karachi and Gwadar in the remote Ormara area of Balochistan province on Thursday.
According to reports, the unidentified assailants intercepted the buses in Buzi Top area on the Coastal Highway around midnight and offloaded 16 of the three dozen people, after checking their identity cards. “We have shared actionable evidence with Iran and we expect our Iranian friends to take swift action against these organizations,” he added.
Political commentators maintain that the opposition is focusing on the remarks of PM Khan which have been presented without a context because of vested political interests. It is believed that there is a hidden political agenda behind the ongoing campaign against the premier. Sabir Shakir, the prominent journalist and senior anchorperson, argues that the efforts are being made by the opposition and some external actors to disturb the current ‘ideal’ civil-military relations. “The opposition does not want the civil-military relations to be stable,” Mr. Shakir said.