Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor, director general of Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR), speaks during a news conference in Rawalpindi. File / Reuters
The Pakistan army supports elected government under the Constitution, the military said while reacting to Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman’s assertion that the army should become neutral and give up backing to the present "illegitimate” regime.
Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj-Gen Asif Ghafoor told a TV channel that the military is an impartial state institution, which always supports democratically elected governments in accordance with the Constitution.
Rehman had asked the “state institutions” to stop supporting the “illegitimate government.” While addressing his supporters, he had said if the “institutions” tried to protect the “illegitimate government” after the expiration of a two-day ultimatum he has given to Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign, the opposition would be free to form an opinion about the “institutions.”
"Rehman is a senior politician, Gen Ghafoor said adding that he should clarify which institution he is talking about. "Pakistan’s armed forces are an impartial state institution which always supports democratically elected governments,” he added.
Responding to Ghafoor’s remarks, Rehman said: "We don’t know on what basis the ISPR chief has issued the statement, which should have come from a politician instead of Ghafoor since he represents the institution of army.”
The ISPR chief said while referring to the security challenges faced by Pakistan on eastern and western fronts that nobody would be allowed to create instability as Pakistan cannot afford chaos.
He added that Pakistan has weathered stormy 20 years as it fought off the menace of terrorism. "Peace has been restored in the country after countless sacrifices,” he said, adding that nobody would be allowed to disturb this hard-earned peace. He said the people of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had bravely fought against terrorism and now they deserved to reap the dividends of peace.
Ghafoor said the military had fulfilled its constitutional responsibility in the elections. "If the opposition has any reservations about the results, it can approach the relevant forums instead of leveling allegations on the streets. In democracies, issues should be resolved democratically,” he said and appreciated the "good coordination” between the negotiating committees of the government and the opposition. He hoped the two sides would sort out contentious matters amicably.
Talking about the security challenges faced by the country, the military spokesperson referred to unabated ceasefire violations by Indian forces on the eastern front where they frequently target civilian population.
He said skirmishes along the Line of Control (LoC) have intensified in frequency and intensity since the Narendra Modi government put occupied Kashmir under siege after revoking its semi-autonomous status in August.
"The Indian Occupied Kashmir remains under siege literally cut off from the rest of the world as tens of thousands of Indian troops maintain a draconian curfew there. There is no let-up in Indian atrocities in Occupied Kashmir. Currently, 100,000 troops are deployed at the eastern border and 200,000 at the western,” the military spokesperson said. "In this scenario if any mishap takes place it would not be in the best interest of the country.”
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