Islamabad: The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) on Monday issued a strong-worded statement expressing shock over PTI Chairman Imran Khan’s comments regarding the appointment of the new army chief.
In a statement, the ISPR said that the Pakistan Army was “aghast at the defamatory and uncalled-for statement” about the senior leadership of the Pakistan Army by Chairman PTI during a political rally at Faisalabad.
Expressing regret, the statement added that this was an attempt to discredit and undermine the senior leadership of the Pakistan Army and that too at a time when the institution is laying lives for the security and safety of the people of Pakistan every day.
Attempts by senior politicians to stir controversies on the appointment of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS) of the Pakistan Army are most unfortunate and disappointing.
“The procedure for which [Army Chief’s appointment] is well defined in the constitution,” the statement read.
It went on to say that the army’s senior leadership had a decades-long, impeccable, and meritorious service to prove its patriotic and professional credentials beyond any doubt.
“Politicizing the senior leadership of Pakistan Army and scandalizing the process of selection of COAS is neither in the interest of the state of Pakistan nor of the institution,” it further said.
“Pakistan Army reiterates its commitment to uphold the constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan.”
Addressing a political rally in Faisalabad on Sunday, PTI Chairman Imran Khan lashed out at the major coalition partners – Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N). He said that both parties were opposing snap elections because they wanted to “appoint an army chief of their choice” in November to save their skin in corruption cases.
Imran Khan said the army chief should be “appointed on merit” – whoever is on the top of the merit list should be appointed” to head the institution.
Reaction from govt
Following his remarks, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took a jibe at the PTI Chairman by calling his agenda “nefarious”.
He said that “Imran Niazi’s despicable utterances to malign institutions are touching new levels every day”.
“He [Imran Khan] is now indulging in direct mud-slinging & poisonous allegations against Armed Forces and its leadership. His nefarious agenda is clearly to disrupt and undermine Pakistan,” the premier tweeted.
Imran Niazi’s despicable utterances to malign institutions are touching new levels every day. He is now indulging in direct mud-slinging & poisonous allegations against Armed Forces & its leadership. His nefarious agenda is clearly to disrupt & undermine Pakistan.
— Shehbaz Sharif (@CMShehbaz) September 5, 2022
Responding to Imran Khan’s comments, Former President of Pakistan Asif Ali Zardari said that Imran Khan has “taken a contract from somewhere to weaken this country which cannot happen in our lifetime”.
In a statement issued on the official Twitter handle of the PPP, Asif Ali Zardari termed Imran Khan “fitna”, adding that everyone has come to know the man and the beast.
کراچی: پاکستان پیپلزپارٹی پارلیمنٹرینز کے صدر آصف علی زرداری کا بیان
ساری قوم کو نظر آرہا ہے کہ اس قوم کا فتنہ کون ہے، آصف علی زرداری، سابق صدر مملکت
آج سب کو انسان اور حیوان کا پتہ چل گیا ہے، صدر زرداری@AAliZardari
— PPP (@MediaCellPPP) September 5, 2022
“We will not allow our institutions and generals to become controversial for the lust of this man. From our soldiers to generals, everyone is a brave and loving country,” Asif Ali Zardari said.
Referring to Imran Khan’s continued political rallies despite Pakistan going through the never-seen floods, Asif Ali Zardari said that the whole nation is standing with the flood victims and trying to help them in every possible way, and this person is playing jalsa jalsa.”