The army on Friday strongly condemned what it called “hurtful and derogatory” comments made by a certain group of people following the helicopter crash in which six army officers, including Quetta Corps Commander Lt General Sarfraz Ali embraced martyrdom.
When the news of the army helicopter going missing came, certain people on social media started making derogatory comments. Some of them went to the extent of wishing for the presence of top military leadership on the missing chopper.
Most of those making such comments were apparently from a certain political party, which felt it was hard done by the country’s security establishment.
Without naming any political party, the military’s media wing took strong exception to the campaign on social media.
“The regretful social media campaign after the unfortunate heli(copter) crash on August 1 has caused deep anguish and distress among Shuhada families and rank and file of the armed forces,” an official Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) statement read.
The wreckage of unfortunate hel which was on flood relief ops found in Musa Goth, Windar, Lasbela. All 6 offrs & sldrs incl Lt Gen Sarfraz Ali embraced shahadat. اِنّا لِلَّٰهِ وَإِنَّا إِلَيْهِ رَاجِعُونَ— DG ISPR (@OfficialDGISPR) August 2, 2022
Accident occurred due to bad weather as per initial investigations . DTF pic.twitter.com/dnyano2vqC
“While the whole nation stood with the institution in this difficult time, certain insensitive quarters resorted to hurtful and derogatory comments on social media which is unacceptable and highly condemnable,” the statement added.
Later, Director General ISPR Major Babar Iftikhar explained that they were compelled to issue a statement after a certain group of people launched a hateful campaign against the army and its leadership.
“This should not happen. We must reject those elements,” the chief military spokesperson told a private news channel. “This is unacceptable and it should be condemned at all levels,” he insisted.
When asked about reports that President Arif Alvi was stopped from attending the funeral of martyred army officers since victim families did not want it, the spokesperson said he would not comment on it.
The DG ISPR also made it clear that Pakistan played no role in the recent killing of al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahiri.
He said the Foreign Office had already clarified Pakistan’s position and there was no point in further speculation on the subject.
The military’s media wing in the past too took notice of the anti-military campaign and had to rebut allegations that it was interfering in political matters.
The establishment, particularly its leadership, has been in the spotlight ever since former prime minister Imran Khan was removed from power through a vote of no confidence in April.
The former premier has on a number of occasions complained that the security establishment did not come to his government’s rescue when they knew a conspiracy was being hatched against it.
While the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leadership was making indirect references, its supporters were more direct. They accused the military leadership of being behind the ouster of the PTI government as the campaign against the senior military leadership continued on social media.
The reason behind PTI supporters being critical of the military leadership was that they refused to endorse the conspiracy claims by Imran Khan. The National Security Committee twice met and concluded that there was no evidence to back the claims that the PTI government was ousted from power through a US-backed conspiracy.
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