Prime Minister Imran Khan has apparently negated the perception that the military establishment has more role to play in his government. In an interview with a prominent Pakistani journalist, Nadeem Malik, PM Khan issued spontaneous but strong statements about his position in his government. The premier made it clear that he is boss and the army is to follow his government’s policy.
— Nadeem Malik 🇵🇰 (@nadeemmalik) October 2, 2020
Nadeem Malik asked PM Khan that Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister, has said that he was directed by then Director General ISI to step down when PTI was protesting against his government; what would have you done, PM? PM Imran Khan said, “I am an elected prime minister. Who has the courage to ask me to resign? If the DG ISI had asked for my resignation, I would have asked him to resign. It is a government institution, we will use the institution to run the government.
While reacting to Nawaz Sharif’s statement that General Zahirul Islam asked him to resign. “You were the Prime Minister, if you had courage you should have dismissed him,” he told Nawaz.
“I am an elected prime minister; who has the courage to demand resignation from me?” he said and added the Pakistan Army is standing behind the democratic government and Nawaz Sharif is sitting outside and campaigning against the institutions, as there is no doubt that India is behind them. They are guilty, and we have planned to bring them back, he said.
On the government-military relations, he said that the relations between the government and the army are historic, as the army stands behind the democratic government. “We have always been of the view that there is no military solution to Afghanistan, the United States should not go to war, but when they do, they say take the path of power and dialogue if necessary, today the army stands by my policy,” the premier said.
“Do whatever you want but I won’t resign,” Nawaz told DG ISI
Notably, Nawaz Sharif claimed on Wednesday that former ISI chief Lieutenant General (retired) Zaheer-ul-Islam had asked him to resign “in the middle of the night” during the 2014 anti-government sit-ins.
“I received a message in the middle of the night,” Sharif told PML-N members in the party’s central executive committee meeting. “It was said that ‘if you don’t do that you will have to face the consequences and martial law can also be imposed’. “I said… do whatever you want but I won’t resign,” Sharif added.
In 2014, the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and Tahir-ul-Qadri’s Pakistan Awami Tehreek had staged a 126-day sit-in in Islamabad against alleged rigging of the 2013 elections.
Lt Gen (retired) Islam had served as the ISI chief from March 19, 2012 to November 7, 2014.
This is the first time that Sharif has publicly commented on Islam’s reported plot to overthrow his government.
In 2015, the then federal minister for climate change Mushahidullah Khan had leveled similar accusations against the former spy chief in an interview with the BBC Urdu service. Lt Gen (retired) Islam wanted to overthrow the then PML-N government through the sit-ins, Khan had claimed. He was removed from his ministry after this interview.
IK is not a national security threat, says Professor Rana Eijaz Ahmad
Rana Eijaz Ahmad, Professor of International Relations at the Department of Political Science and Host Director Confucius Institute, University of the Punjab Lahore, spoke to GVS to comment on the development. Professor Ahmad is of the view that PM Khan’s statement is reflective of his political conviction and moral integrity. “He [Imran Khan] is absolutely right because Nawaz Sharif had no moral legitimacy to stay in the government when there were serious corruption charges against him. He was also accused abuse of powers. Second, being the PM, he had no IQ level to understand the political processes and structures,” he said.
Professor Ahmad went on saying that “although IK is also naive about such delicacies of the governance, yet he is honest and sincere enough to sustain as the PM.” “He has never been a National security threat to the country,” he added.