The Pakistan Army is 'aghast' at the ‘defamatory and uncalled for statement’ by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan regarding the institution's senior leadership, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday.
The military's strong exception comes a day after the former premier, during a public gathering on Sunday, fired a broadside at his political rivals, alleging that Nawaz and Zardari wanted to appoint an army chief of their choice because a “strong and patriotic army chief” would question their “loot”.
According to the military’s media wing, a “regrettable” attempt was made to “discredit and undermine senior leadership” of the army at a time when “the institution is laying [down] lives for the security and safety of the people of Pakistan”.
The ISPR statement further said that it was “most unfortunate and disappointing” when senior politicians try to stir up controversies regarding the appointment of the chief of army staff, “the procedure for which is well defined in the Constitution”.
“The senior leadership of [the] army has decades-long impeccable meritorious service to prove its patriotic and professional credentials beyond any doubt,” it added.
The statement maintained that the politicizing of the senior leadership of the army and scandalizing of the process of selection of army chief was not in the interest of Pakistan nor of the institution.
“The Pakistan Army reiterates its commitment to uphold the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan”.
Read Don’t push me to the wall, warns Imran
PTI leader Imran Khan, addressing a public rally at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad earlier, asked the ruling coalition why they were “afraid of fresh elections”? He added that it was because they knew that they would be eliminated in transparent elections.
“The second reason is that the new army chief is coming in November. Zardari and Nawaz want to bring their favourite as the next army chief because they have stolen public money,” he said. “They are afraid that when a patriotic army chief comes, he will ask them about their loot,” he said.
Govt condemns Imran’s comments
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and other ruling coalition leaders condemned Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief Imran Khan’s ‘poisonous’ allegations that Nawaz Sharif and Asif Zardari want to appoint the army chief of their choice.
Responding to Imran's statement, PM Shehbaz maintained that the PTI chief's “despicable utterances to malign institutions” were touching new heights “every day”.
In a statement on Twitter, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) co-chair Asif Ali Zardari said that the nation could now see who the real “insurgent” was.
Without naming the ousted premier, Zardari stated that Imran was attempting to weaken the country which “could not happen” in the PPP leader's lifetime and that he will not allow state institutions to become a topic of controversy because of one man.
“From our soldiers to generals, everyone is brave and loves this country,” Zardari said.