Islamabad: In a highly sensitive development, former Prime Minister Imran Khan has called on President Dr Arif Alvi to initiate a drawing up of “clear operational lines” for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR).
A letter written by the PTI Chairman, dated November 6, stated that ever since his ouster, the party has been confronted with an “ever-increasing” scale of “false allegations, harassments, arrests and custodial torture”.
Alluding to the assassination attempt on him, Imran Khan claimed that the Interior Minister, Rana Sanaullah repeatedly issued death threats to him. He went on to say that he was informed of an assassination plot hatched by PM Shehbaz, Rana Sanaullah, and a senior military officer, which failed by the Grace of Allah.
Imran Khan appealed to the president to take notice of the serious “wrongdoings” that undermine Pakistan’s national security as the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
Imran, in the letter, raised three separate points regarding the Prime Minister Office leak, the cypher controversy, and the role of the ISPR.
He claimed that a “breach of the Official Secrets Act” had occurred when a confidential conversation between him, the COAS, and the DG ISI on a “supposedly secure line” was “leaked” to the media.
He said that this raises a very serious question as to who or what organization was involved in doing a clearly illegal wiretap of the PM’s secure phone line. “This is a breach of national security at the highest level,” he said.
Talking about the cypher controversy which he has long been vocal about, Imran noted that the National Security Committee (NSC) meeting held during his tenure had “decided this was an unacceptable intrusion into our internal matters” which was also later reaffirmed during another meeting held under the Shehbaz government.
However, the unprecedented joint press conference of the DG ISI and DG ISPR had the “former contradicting the decision made by the NSC under two governments and stating that the message of the US government conveyed by our envoy in Washington DC in the cipher was not an unacceptable intrusion into our internal affairs but simply a case of “misconduct”.”
“The question that needs to be examined is how two military bureaucrats can publicly contradict a decision of the NSC? This also raises the serious issue of these military bureaucrats deliberately trying to create a false narrative.”
Regarding the press conference, Imran Khan asked two questions. One, how the head of Pakistan’s premier Intelligence Agency can do a public press conference? Two, how can two military bureaucrats do a highly political conference targeting the leader of the largest and perhaps the only federal political party in Pakistan today?
“The parameters of a military information organization such as the ISPR also need to be clearly defined and limited to information relating to defense and military issues. As supreme commander of the armed forces, I call on you to initiate the drawing up of these clear operational lines for the ISPR.”
The former Prime Minister concluded his letter by requesting President Alvi to protect the country’s democracy and Constitution.
“No person or state institution can be above the law of the land. We have been seeing a massive abuse of citizens at the hands of rogue elements within state organizations, including custodial torture and abductions all carried out with impunity.
“You hold the highest office of state and I am requesting you to act now to stop the abuse of power and violations of our laws and of the Constitution, which ensures the fundamental rights of every citizen,” Imran wrote in the letter.