Army wants Imran to apologise, shun politics of 'anarchy'

DG ISPR says there won’t be any talks with ‘anarchists’

Kamran Yousaf May 07, 2024
DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif addressing a press conference on May 7, 2024. PHOTO: X/@PakistanFauj


The Pakistan Army on Tuesday sought a sincere and public apology from jailed former prime minister Imran Khan and asked him to shun what it called “politics of anarchy and hate” to revive his political fortunes.

However, at the same time, it dismissed the possibility of any ‘deal’ with the founder of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), saying there won’t be any talks with “anarchists.”

At a press conference on the eve of the first anniversary of the May 9 incident, DG Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif said that there was no doubt that the PTI was behind the May 9 riots.

However, he said that yet some people were demanding the judicial commission to probe the events of May 9. He said the army was ready for the formation of a judicial commission but added that such an inquiry should also cover the 2014 sit-in and other related events.

He denied the 'narrative' that May 9 was a 'false flag operation'.

During the press talk, a documentary film about May 9 was shown, in which attacks on military installations can be seen. The documentary also showed the statements of PTI leaders Murad Saeed, Shandana Gulzar and Shehryar Afridi.

Maj-Gen Ahmed Sharif said that a political party provoked the youth but now "confusion" was being created by demanding a judicial commission.

“We are ready… make a judicial commission. The judicial commission should also cover what the 2014 sit-in was and what its objectives were. It should also cover how the Parliament was attacked. How people were given the courage to stand against the state.”

He said that the capital was attacked using the resources of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa in 2016, adding that Islamabad was attacked again in 2022.

Read more: PTI calls for judicial commission to probe May 9 events

The army spokesperson was questioned about statements made by the PTI and the former prime minister, who claimed that their triumph on February 8 "rejected the narrative of May 9."

In response, Major General Ahmed Sharif said that the turnout on February 8 was 47 per cent. “Of this particular political party that says the narrative has been reversed, this party got 31 per cent of the vote. 92% of the population does not stand with them. We believe that the people are standing with the army.”

He further said that some political circles on social media frequently make accusations against the army and institutions. "In response to these allegations, instead of providing evidence, more allegations are made."

He urged for legislative action on this matter, emphasising that failure to act would destabilise the very fabric of society.

Also read: Terrorism to end if Kabul shuts TTP havens: Asif

The army spokesperson said that letters were written to the IMF, lobbying was done not to give loan to Pakistan, and letting the country default. "If those who were behind May 9 are not punished, then no one's life, wealth, honour and dignity will be safe."

During the press conference, the DG ISPR was asked by a journalist that the alleged masterminds of May 9 had not been punished despite the passage of a year.

The spokesperson underscored that May 9 was not solely a concern for Pakistani forces but rather a matter concerning the entire populace of Pakistan.

"If one believes in Pakistan's justice system and its framework of accountability, then according to the Constitution, those responsible for the events of May 9, including both perpetrators and masterminds, must face legal repercussions.”

On “creating a narrative” on May 9, the spokesperson of the army added that May 9 is not a hidden thing. “The irrefutable evidence of this is also with the public.”

“We all saw it happen with our own eyes. We have all seen how people were brainwashed. They were brainwashed by lies and propaganda against the army, its leadership and agencies.”

"Political leaders selected targets. They attacked military installations across the country in a few hours.”

When asked about the possibility of any deal, the spokesperson reiterated that the army has no political role. “The army is apolitical and its relationship with every government is in accordance with the Constitution and law,” he added.

“All political parties are respectable for us. However, if any political group attacks its own army, no one will interact with them. The only way for such an anarchist group is to apologise to the nation and promise to leave the politics of hatred and engage in constructive politics,” he stressed.

Regarding the allegations made by six Islamabad High Court judges against the intelligence agencies, the DG ISPR stated that the issue was currently under judicial review. “It is not fair to make accusations without proof. There is no benefit in taking the army into political affairs.”

Also read: Imran was aware of cipher's sensitivity, FIA tells IHC

When questioned about the accusation of “regime change” concerning Saudi Arabia, the army spokesperson expressed regret, stating, “You cannot damage relations with friendly countries in the name of expression. This is absolutely wrong.”

When questioned about whether the army has handed over military bases in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa to the US or any similar arrangement is underway, the spokesperson responded unequivocally, stating, "Neither base has been nor will be handed over to anyone in Pakistan."

“This is ridiculous. This is propaganda.”

When questioned about Corps Commander Mangala, General (retd) Ayman Safdar's premature retirement due to alleged political affiliations, the army spokesperson emphasised the army's stringent, transparent, and ongoing self-accountability process.

He highlighted that any violation of rules and regulations, including corruption, triggers the accountability system, which operates without discrimination. Notably, he emphasised that the accountability process is even more rigorous for senior ranks.

However, the spokesperson refrained from disclosing specific charges against former corps commander Mangala or whether he was dismissed.

When queried about the progress of the inquiry launched against former DG ISI General (retd) Faiz Hameed regarding a housing society case, the DG ISPR outlined the accountability process in place.

He stated that a two-star general is overseeing the inquiry in accordance with directives from the Supreme Court and the Ministry of Defence.

“Its purpose is to look into the allegations and ascertain facts. Based on this, recommendations will be prepared.”

Talking about the clash between police and army personnel in Bahawalnagar, the spokesman said, "Police and security officials resolved it amicably."

He said that anti-national elements want to create a rift. The incident was unfortunate, it was resolved amicably and an inquiry was underway.

He remarked that individuals who criticise the subsidiaries of the Pakistan Army would like to live in DHA, get treatment in CMH, and send their children to these universities and colleges. He said that the role of the army in SIFC and the economy was to facilitate.

On Afghanistan, the spokesperson said that despite repeated demands and sharing of evidence, the banned Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) continued to operate from Afghanistan. “Pakistan shared credible evidence, but no action was taken. The linkage of the recent terrorist incidents can be found in Afghanistan.”

"Pakistan has helped the Afghan interim government at all levels, but the promises they made in Doha do not seem to be fulfilled. The agreement clearly states that Afghanistan's territory will not be used against any country, but there is strong evidence that this is happening. In this regard, the Foreign Office recorded repeated protests with the Taliban government.”

The DG ISPR stated that in recent months, there have been attempts by terrorists to disrupt the peace situation in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

He said those who carried out the terrorist attack against the Chinese engineers came from Afghanistan. "The terrorists and their facilitators were being controlled from Afghanistan while the suicide bomber was also an Afghan citizen."


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