Pakistan Army says it has ‘nothing to do with politics’, will remain apolitical in future as well

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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army said on Thursday that it has “nothing to do with politics” and it will remain apolitical in the future as well, as the powerful institution asserted that its chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa was not seeking an extension and will neither accept one.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the army- Director General (DG) Major General Babar Iftikhar also said that Pakistan’s survival lies solely on democracy and its strength lies in the institutions, be it Parliament, Supreme Court or the Armed forces.
The Pakistan Army has “nothing to do with politics” and the institution has decided to remain apolitical in the future as well, Major General Iftikhar told reporters, three days after Opposition leader Shehbaz Sharif was sworn in as Pakistan’s Prime Minister after prolonged political turmoil.
“Chief of army staff is neither seeking an extension nor will he accept an extension. No matter what, he will be retiring on the 29th of November 2022,” he was quoted as saying by The Express Tribune newspaper.
He also said that the word “conspiracy” was not used in the statement issued after a meeting of the National Security Committee last month, apparently contradicting ousted prime minister Imran Khan who has accused America of hatching a conspiracy to topple his government.
“As far as a military response about the NSC meeting is considered, that stance, in that meeting was fully given, and then a statement was issued … which clearly says what was concluded in that meeting. The words used are in front of you … as I said … the words used are clear. Is there any word such as conspiracy used in it? I think not,” Gen Iftikhar said, adding that the minutes of the NSC meeting can be declassified if the government decides.
He also said that the former prime minister had approached the army chief to help find a solution to the political crisis.
“It is unfortunate that our political leadership was not ready to talk. So the army chief and DG ISI went to the PMO and three scenarios were discussed,” he said, recalling that one was that the no-confidence motion should be held as it was. The other was that the prime minister resigns or the no-confidence motion was retracted and the assemblies were dissolved.
“No option from the establishment was given,” Gen Iftikhar said.
Imran Khan had claimed that the “establishment” had given him three options: “resignation, no-confidence (vote), or elections” after the Opposition filed a no-trust motion against him in Parliament.
The powerful Pakistan Army, which has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 73-plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.
Khan, who was ousted from power early this week, had apparently also lost support of the powerful Army after he refused to endorse the appointment of the ISI spy agency chief last year.
Finally, he agreed but it soured his ties with the powerful Army.
Khan wanted to keep Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the spy chief but the army high command transferred him by appointing him Corps Commander in Peshawar.

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