Major General Babar Iftikhar, Director General (DG) Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), said on Thursday that the word “conspiracy” was not used in the statement issued by the National Security Committee last month.
After his media briefing, which followed the recent Corps Commanders Conference, he was asked a question by a journalist. The journalist had inquired about the army leadership’s position on Imran Khan’s claim of a foreign plot to depose him, as well as whether the National Security Council had endorsed such a claim.
“In terms of the military response to the NSC meeting, that stance was fully expressed in that meeting, and then a statement was issued that clearly states what was decided in that meeting,” the DG ISPR added.
“The words used are in front of you, as I said, the words used are clear,” Gen Iftikhar continued. Is there any use of the word “conspiracy” in it? “I don’t believe so.” He also stated that if the government so desires, the minutes of the NSC meeting can be declassified.
The DG ISPR told journalists that formation commanders expressed confidence in the steps taken for the country’s security, particularly in light of international security and the Pakistan Army’s role in upholding the rule of law, at a recent formation commanders conference held at General Headquarters.
“All of them agreed that democracy, institutional strength, and the rule of law, as well as all institutions operating within constitutional bounds, are the guarantors of national interest,” said DG ISPR. He went on to say that the army’s strength is based on public support, and that national security is meaningless without it.
General Babar also requested that political parties and the general public refrain from involving the Pakistan Army in politics. He welcomed constructive criticism, but noted that the army and its leadership are the targets of a “malicious campaign.” “Any attempt to create a schism between the public and the armed forces is counterproductive to the national interest,” he added.
“The Pakistan Army and its leadership are the targets of a coordinated campaign of malicious propaganda.” “Deep-fake technology is even being used to create fake audio messages of various retired senior military officials in order to create a divide between the nation and the armed forces,” he said.
“This is illegal, unethical, and completely against national interest,” the DG ISPR said, urging the public and political parties to refrain from involving the army in politics. “We don’t want to get involved.” Keep us out of this debate,” he said, adding that this campaign has never been successful in the past and will not be successful in the future.
The term “neutral” doesn’t adequately describe the army’s position, according to Gen Iftikhar. In response to a question, he stated this. “Apolitical is a better word. There should be no political affiliation or interference in our constitutional and legal framework.”
‘Imran Khan made contact with the Army Chief.’
In response to another question, the DG ISPR stated that former Prime Minister Imran Khan had approached General Qamar Javed Bajwa, the Chief of Army Staff (COAS), for assistance in resolving the political crisis.
“Unfortunately, our political leadership was unwilling to engage in dialogue. So the army chief and the director general of the ISI went to the PMO and discussed three scenarios,” he said, recalling that one of them was that the no-confidence motion should be held as is.
The other options were for the prime minister to resign or for the no-confidence motion to be withdrawn and the legislatures to be dissolved. Gen Iftikhar clarified, “No option from the establishment was given.”
The ISPR DG shot down rumours on social media that the establishment was meeting with opposition parties. “There is no truth to this,” he stated emphatically. “These things were said to me. Investigative reporting has come a long way. Bring evidence forward if you have it. He went on to say, “There were no such contacts, no deal.”
There were also rumours about the army chief’s extension, according to Gen Babar Iftikhar. “Please allow me to put this to rest. COAS is not seeking an extension and will not accept one if one is offered. On November 22, he will retire on time. He went on to say, “This is character assassination without evidence.”