By Hamza Ameer
Islamabad, May 14 | Pakistan’s political system has got a long history of having military-level influence on both ruling and opposition parties, which has predominantly been controlled by the directives of the powerful armed forces.
The previous government of Imran Khan was criticised for being a puppet setup of the military establishment, which led to the opposition parties terming Khan’s government as “selected government” and “selected Prime Minister”.
But after the opposition alliance gained strength and launched a campaign to oust Khan through a no-confidence vote in the Parliament, the country’s military establishment openly stated that it will not become part of the politics any further, nor did it have anything to do with reference to the ouster of Khan.
The statement was forced out of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) after a social media campaign was launched targeting the military establishment and the army chief, maligning the institution for being party to the US-led ‘foreign conspiracy’ that ousted Khan power, a claim and narrative Khan continues to maintain as he stages massive anti-government protest rallies across the country.
The ongoing campaign to malign the military establishment saw abuses, accusations and allegations by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) supporters, slamming the army chief for not coming to Khan’s rescue and bailing him out of the political crisis.
And Khan and his leadership continue with the same anti-military and-anti-US narrative in public gatherings.
Former human rights minister and senior PTI leader Shireen Mazari has been directly hitting out at the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) spokesperson and the military establishment at large for taking a “neutral” stance during what he called a conspiracy to topple Khan’s government.
In a latest remark, Mazari lashed out at the military establishment for claiming to be neutral but actually “being party to the international conspiracy of a regime change in Pakistan”.
“I ask this question again to the neutrals (term used to mention military establishment) — your neutrality has come under question. Did you think through it when you supported the conspiracy,” asked Mazari.
Mazari also raised questions over the role of the military establishment for not realising the effects of being party to the ‘international conspiracy’ for a regime change on the country’s economy.
“Did you think about the economic downfall, lawlessness and destruction of democracy,” she asked.
“One of the PTI’s dissident party members was living in a rest-house belonging to the neutrals,” claimed Mazari, who accused the military establishment of supporting the opposition parties in ousting the Imran Khan-led government.
Mazari’s statements and claims come at a time when the Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Major General Babar Iftikhar, urged politicians not to drag the military into politics.
“It is highly inappropriate for political leaders to seek military intervention and try to drag the army into their politics. I urge all politicians again to not drag us into politics. We have nothing to do with the political crisis or any political situation in the country,” Iftikhar said.
“We have been witnessing this maligning campaign patiently for some time. We have been ordered to not intervene in any political matter any further. We have our country’s serious security challenges to deal with,” he added.