Quashing speculation: Army has nothing to do with political crisis says ISPR

Maj Gen Asim Bajwa says talk of ‘scriptwriter’ regrettable; dismisses rumours of divisions within the army.

Kamran Yousaf September 13, 2014


The military has finally broken its silence on rampant speculation that the security establishment might be behind the ongoing protest sit-ins by the Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI). The chief military spokesperson on Friday dismissed such rumours as baseless and insisted that linking the army with a political issue, as well as talk of ‘scriptwriter’, was ‘regrettable.’

“I want to clarify here that the army has nothing to do with the ongoing political crisis. It is regrettable that the army is being linked to political matters,” Major General Asim Saleem Bajwa, the director general of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), told a rare news briefing at the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi.

His candid reaction came in response to recent reports that certain military commanders were pushing for a direct intervention to end the protest-sparked political gridlock but army chief General Raheel Sharif opposed any such move.

Speculations were also rife that the ongoing anti-government protests were the result of a civil-military row over the trial of former military ruler General (retd) Pervez Musharraf. Some reports even claimed that at least five top generals, who are set to retire within a few weeks, were pushing for the ouster of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif through PTI chairman Imran Khan and PAT leader Dr Tahirul Qadri.

“There is no truth in such reports. Those who understand the working of the military know this is not possible. The army is a united and cohesive force,” said Maj-Gen Asim Bajwa, quashing speculations of any divisions within the army on the current political crisis.

He pointed out that “the army strictly follows the directions of the army chief.” However, he made it clear that the ongoing protest on the Constitution Avenue was a political issue and hence had to be resolved by the country’s political forces. “We hope they will be able to resolve the issue politically,” he added.

Asked about the role of the army in brokering a deal between the two sides, the military spokesperson clarified that army chief General Raheel Sharif had accepted the role of ‘facilitator’ between the government and the protesting parties in the larger national interest.

“We are Pakistanis and naturally we do have concerns about what is happening in Pakistan,” he said. However, he made it clear that the army was strictly playing its role within the confines of the Constitution. “The army chief himself underscored that the military believes in abiding by the Constitution and continuation of democratic process. This is not just a statement but our actions have proved this,” he added.

Responding to the criticism of the role of army troops during the storming of the state-run PTV, Maj Gen Bajwa clarified that the army was given the security responsibilities of five state buildings and PTV was not among them. “But, we cleared the building when we were told about the attack on PTV,” he added.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 13th, 2014.


Dr Faisal | 7 years ago | Reply

The recent events in islamabad have proven three things. There has been massive rigging in elections that the government doesnt want to investigate at any cost, all crooks in the house are togather and are shamelessa. Last of all that the PM lied on the floor of the house. The Army's silence broke after mysterious gap waiting for what........we r all treating this land heartlessly for our clanfestine benefits.......may Allah gorgive us all.

Last Word | 7 years ago | Reply

The military has already burnt its hands by meeting the protesting duo and issuing several statements which have since backfired on it. The US administration categorical statement that it supports the civilian govt and also warning that toppling of the same through un-constitutional means would result in stoppage of all aid sealed the issue.

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