PM Imran, Gen Qamar discuss security, Kashmir

Published: November 15, 2019

ISLAMABAD: Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday in a first such interaction between the two in recent weeks, particularly against the backdrop of a host of developments — both on internal as well as external fronts.

“Security situation of the country, including [the] situation in Indian Occupied Jammu and Kashmir, the western border and internal security issues, were discussed,” says a brief statement issued by the Prime Minister’s Office.

The prime minister hailed Pakistan Army’s efforts to defend the borders while also ensuring internal security and facilitating the ongoing socioeconomic development.

No further details were available, but it is believed that the issue of allowing former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to travel abroad for medical treatment was one of the talking points.

Although the federal government gave Nawaz a one-time permission to travel abroad, the condition of multi billion-rupee indemnity bond has delayed his departure.

The PML-N has spurned the condition of indemnity bond as “ransom demand” and challenged it in the Lahore High Court, which is expected to rule on the controversy today (Saturday) after rejecting objection of the federal government over the maintainability of the petition.

Observers believe the security establishment appears to be in favour of allowing the former prime minister to go abroad without any conditions. This perception stems from a number of statements made by certain government allies, and even ministers who are considered close to the establishment.

Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, who are known to have close ties with the establishment, have been at the forefront in suggesting the government to let Nawaz leave the country without any conditions.

The Chaudhrys of Gujarat, who maintained a low profile until the JUI-F’s dharna, have once again emerged on the political scene. They are credited with brokering some kind of deal with Maulana Fazlur Rehman, who earlier this week abruptly called off his 13-day-long sit-in in the capital.

Elahi has confirmed in a TV interview that some “understanding” has been reached with Maulana Fazl but refused to divulge details. It is not clear whether the cleric has reached an understanding with the government or someone else.

The Chaudhrys are now trying to persuade the government to drop the indemnity bond condition and allow Nawaz to go abroad. According to them, Prime Minister Imran Khan would never be able to deal with the consequences if anything happens to the ailing former prime minister in Pakistan. They have warned that the system would collapse if any mishap happens with Nawaz.

Interior Minister Brig (retd) Ijaz Shah and even Senator Barrister Saif also favour an early departure of Nawaz for London without any condition.

Political observers are of the view that these senior politicians cannot make such statements, which apparently contradict the government’s approach, without the blessings of powers that be. But it appears that the PTI government is still sticking to the condition of indemnity bond despite calls from within to reconsider the approach.

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