Don’t drag military into politics, warns ISPR – The Express Tribune

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Says armed forces take strong exception to ‘such unlawful and unethical practice’
The military on Sunday took "strong exception" to what it called "unlawful and unethical practice" of dragging the armed forces into politics, warning that such unsubstantiated statements were "extremely damaging" for the country.
The statement from the military's media wing came against the backdrop of ongoing political tensions where certain politicians, journalists and analysts directly and indirectly discussed the alleged role of the security establishment in politics.
The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) did not specifically mention any politicians or party by name but the statement suggested that the military leadership was perturbed over remarks given by both the government and opposition parties.
"Recently there have been intensified and deliberate attempts to drag [the] Pakistan armed forces and their leadership in [the] ongoing political discourse in the country," read an ISPR statement.
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"These attempts are manifest through direct, insinuated or nuanced references to the armed forces as well as their senior leadership, made by some political leaders, few journalists and analysts on public forums and various communication platforms including social media," it added.
It went on to say that this practice of "unsubstantiated, defamatory and provocative statements /remarks is extremely damaging”.
"{The] Pakistan armed forces take strong exception to such unlawful and unethical practice and expect all to abide by the law and keep the armed forces out of political discourse in the best interest of the country.”
This was for the first time the military has directly responded to the alleged role of army in politics following the ISPR director general’s news conference last month where he stressed that military was apolitical.
ISPR DG Major Gen Babar Iftikhar at that time had said the military leadership had taken a well-considered decision to stay out of politics and the move was not meant to favour anyone.
He had also made it clear that democracy was the only way forward and that there would never be a military rule in Pakistan.
However despite that categorical statement, the alleged role of military in politics remained in the public discourse with speculations of possible differences within the security establishment over the change of the government.
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Recently, Punjab Governor Omar Sarfraz Cheema had sought the army’s intervention to end the stalemate in Punjab.
In a controversial move, the governor had written a letter to Chief of Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa, seeking his help to end the impasse in the province.
He also tweeted that he would arrest Punjab CM Hamza Shehbaz if the army provided him with a subedar and a couple of soldiers.
Similarly at a recent public gathering, PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz said that former premier Imran Khan only lasted in office for over three years as he had the support of a former intelligence officer.
“When the government lost his [ex-intelligence officer] support, it fell instantly,” she had added.
Former premier Imran Khan has also kept targeting the military, albeit in a subtle manner.
In his latest public rally on Sunday in Abbottabad, the PTI chairman once again said “only animals were neutral” in remarks apparently aimed at the military leadership, which did not take any side when he was ousted from power through a no-trust move.
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