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Monday, September 25, 2023

Why does the army support PM Imran Khan?

"It is the prime minister who takes decisions for the country, and the army agrees with those decisions," said the Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday. Is it so? What does the premier have to say about the army?

The Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry on Thursday said that Prime Minister Imran Khan has “changed the fate of Pakistan within two years”. Speaking with the foreign journalist, Sarah Kelly, the minister said that the Opposition calling PM Imran Khan “incompetent” and a “puppet of the army” are “frivolous arguments”. “It is common for all Opposition [parties] to take such [irrational] stances.”

Lauding the Pakistan government’s efforts in controlling the spread of COVID-19, Chaudhry said that Pakistan achieved what other nations could not have imagined doing. “We fought against COVID-19 successfully,” he said, adding that speculations that the prime minister had refused to impose a lockdown and “only did so when the army intervened” are wrong.

“It is the prime minister who takes decisions for the country, and the army agrees with those decisions,” Chaudhry said.

Appreciating the PTI-led government, Fawad Chaudhry said that Pakistan stopped seeing corruption scandals at the top levels of the government after a long time.

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He also shed light on the issue of missing persons and claimed that the number of missing persons will be “reduced to zero in the next six months”. “We will also take actions against those responsible for abducting the missing persons,” he said.

The minister also said that Pakistan does not have any problems when it comes to freedom of speech.

Imran Khan’s ties with military

Recently, 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 the boss and the army is to follow his government’s policy.

Nadeem Malik asked PM Khan that Nawaz Sharif, former prime minister, has said that he was directed by the 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.

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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.