'Military finds no evidence of foreign conspiracy against PM Imran'

Relevant quarters say the wrong impression was given about the military leadership endorsing view of the government


Kamran Yousaf April 04, 2022
Former Prime Minister Imran Khan. PHOTO: REUTERS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:

Contrary to claims by Prime Minister Imran Khan, the military leadership told a National Security Committee (NSC) meeting on March 27 that they had no evidence to suggest the United States had threatened or was involved in the conspiracy to seek the ouster of the PTI government.

On March 27, the high-powered NSC headed by PM Imran met to discuss the diplomatic cable which the PTI government claimed contained evidence of the US plot seeking a regime change in Pakistan.

The NSC after the meeting issued a statement expressing serious concerns over the non-diplomatic language used in the cable, saying it was tantamount to interference in the internal matters of Pakistan. The NSC then decided to issue a demarche to the United States.

The NSC statement was subsequently used by Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri to block a vote on the no-trust move in a development that triggered a constitutional crisis.

PM Imran claimed the NSC had endorsed the government's view that vote of no-confidence was part of the conspiracy to remove him from power.

But sources in the relevant quarters told The Express Tribune on Monday that a wrong impression was given about the military leadership endorsing the view of the government.

One source said the prime minister could make public minutes of the meeting because the NSC statement was only meant for the media. "Are there any minutes of the NSC meeting," the source asked. "Have all the participants sign on the minutes of the meeting, the source went on to say, adding that the minutes of the meeting were only considered official documents when all the participants of NSC signed. This suggests that the military leadership had not signed on the minutes of the meeting.

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The source further said that according to the relevant authorities that the US had not sent any letter to the government. It was the assessment of the Pakistani ambassador after his meeting with the US officials.
Another question being raised was about the delay in convening the NSC meeting. "Can the government show any action it has taken between March and March 27," the source pointed out.

Relevant authorities, the source also said, found no evidence of any linkage between the vote of no confidence and the diplomatic cable that had triggered the ongoing political and constitutional crises.

Another sign that the military leadership was reluctant to endorse the conspiracy allegations by the prime minister was the recent speech delivered by Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Unlike the rhetoric of the premier, the army chief said that Pakistan enjoyed an excellent and long term relationship with the United States, he said, adding that the US is Pakistan’s largest export partner.

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General Qamar's statement on the Russian Ukraine crisis was also markedly different from the stance adopted by the PTI government.

The army chief not only expressed serious concerns over the Russian invasion but insisted that Russian aggression against a smaller nation could not be condoned.

This highlights the fact that the military leadership may not be on the same page with the PTI government on certain foreign policy issues.

However, it is intriguing that the military leadership is not making public any statement clarifying if they endorsed the foreign-funded plot against the prime minister or otherwise.

Following the tumultuous day in the history of Pakistan on Sunday, the chief military spokesperson said the army was "absolutely not" part of what happened in the National Assembly.

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