Saad Rafique's statement did not warrant strong reaction from DG ISPR: Khursheed Shah

Opposition leader in NA finds ‘nothing’ meriting ‘such a big response’

Our Correspondent December 29, 2017

ISLAMABAD: Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah has termed as “premature” Pakistan Army spokesperson Major General Asif Ghafoor’s reaction to a recent statement by Federal Minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique.

Speaking to media-persons on Friday, Shah said the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) director general had not to give ‘such a big reaction’ as there was ‘nothing’ in Rafique’s statement that could be objected to.

He said he had personally examined the railways minister’s remarks and did not find anything controversial.

Statement taken out of context, claims Saad Rafique

“There was nothing [in Rafique’s statement] to warrant an immediate and such a big reaction from the ISPR. This should not have been done as each and every word of a national institution matters,” he said.

The other day, Rafique, while addressing a seminar on the death anniversary of his father Khawaja Rafique, had lauded army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s meeting with parliamentarians in the Senate.

He had said that Gen Qamar had always displayed unconditional support towards democracy, but advised “those under army chief’s command to adhere to his resolve too”.

However, in a recent press briefing, the DG ISPR strongly reacted to Rafique’s statement and termed it ‘irresponsible’ and ‘unwarranted’.

He had also said that the issue needed to be addressed as the statement “was not unintended”, adding that the minister’s statement was “targeting army’s chain of command” and clashed with the constitutional protection given to institutions.

Meanwhile, the opposition leader, while responding to a question about former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s visit to Saudi Arabia, said, “Pakistan has its own Constitution. We are a nuclear power. We should understand the significance of sovereignty and independent policy.”

Statement taken out of context, claims Saad Rafique

The National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) of 2007 had brought democracy in the country whereas “the buzz about the current NRO is that it will provide an escape route to Sharif”, he said.

About the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) reforms, Shah said, “The Pakistan Peoples Party has been supporting reforms and merger of tribal areas with Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (KP) since day one.”

On Faizabad sit-in, he said, “It has sent a negative message to the world that Pakistan is a dangerous country.”

About the traders’ protest in Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B), the opposition leader said, “It is very unjustified that the people of G-B are being taxed without constitutional cover.”

Shah demanded elections in G-B and Azad Jammu and Kashmir alongside the general elections in Pakistan.

“People of G-B have equal right over the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor projects and they should not be left behind economically,” he said.


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