Pakistan Army has been shocked and appalled by what its chief spokesperson called “defamatory and uncalled for” statement of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan about the military top brass.
“Pakistan Army is aghast at the defamatory and uncalled for statement about the senior leadership of Pakistan Army by [the] Chairman PTI during a political rally at Faisalabad,” the military spokesperson said in a statement issued by the ISPR on Monday.
The statement came a day after Imran claimed that his political arch rivals, the PPP and the PML-N in particular, were opposing fresh general elections, because they wanted to “have [the next] army chief of their choice” after the incumbent retired in November.
“They want to bring in their own army chief… they are scared that if a strong and patriotic army chief is appointed, then he would ask them about the national wealth they have looted,” said Imran while addressing a rally in Faisalabad on Sunday.
Around a dozen political parties coalesced into an alliance to bring down the government of Imran Khan through a vote of no-confidence which the deposed premier says was orchestrated by the United States as part of its regime change attempt because he said “absolutely no” to their diktats.
According to the ISPR, the PTI chairman has made an attempt to discredit the military leadership. “Regrettably, an attempt has been made to discredit and undermine [the] senior leadership of Pakistan Army at a time when the institution is laying [down] lives for the security and safety of the people of Pakistan every day,” it stated.
The military media wing further said that senior politicians were trying to stir controversies on the appointment of army chief even though the procedure is well defined in the Constitution, which is “most unfortunate and disappointing”.
“The senior leadership of army has decades-long impeccable meritorious service to prove its patriotic and professional credentials beyond any doubt,” the chief military spokesperson said.
“Politicising the senior leadership of Pakistan Army and scandalising the process of selection of COAS is neither in the interest of the state of Pakistan nor of the institution,” he added. “Pakistan Army reiterates its commitment to uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other ruling coalition leaders on Monday condemned the PTI chief’s ‘poisonous’ allegations.
Responding to Imran's statement, PM Shehbaz maintained that the PTI chief's “despicable utterances to malign institutions” were touching new heights “every day”.
He claimed that the former premier was “indulging in direct mud-slinging and poisonous allegations against Armed Forces and its leadership”.
“His nefarious agenda is clearly to disrupt and undermine Pakistan,” PM Shehbaz said in a tweet.
In a statement on Twitter, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chair Asif Ali Zardari said that the nation could now see who the real “insurgent” was.
Without naming the ousted premier, Zardari stated that Imran was attempting to weaken the country which “could not happen” in the PPP leader's lifetime and that he will not allow state institutions to become a topic of controversy because of one man.
“From our soldiers to generals, everyone is brave and loves this country,” Zardari said.
He further stated that the nation currently stood with and was trying to help flood victims while Imran held rallies.
He maintained that only the federal government could be seen making an effort in flood relief activities in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and Punjab – where Imran Khan and his allies held provincial governments.
Minister for Planning Ahsan Iqbal said that as the country grappled “with the worst climate disaster, Imran Niazi continues to pollute the political space and push the country towards extreme polarisation”.
He claimed that the PTI chief was “putting blots on all state institutions”, including the appointment of a new chief of army staff.
The minister questioned if Imran’s “end game” was “more anarchy and chaos”.
Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman also criticised the ex-PM and said that the PTI leaders "were constantly blaming the security agencies."
In a series of tweets, she added that Imran is "spreading hatred and chaos against the security agencies".
Talking about the recent floods that have rendered 33 million people homeless, the minister questioned if Imran's "ego and politics [are] bigger than people’s lives?"
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