Taking on the Opposition over its “puppet” prime minister jibe, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has asserted that the Pakistani Army is a state institution and that it works under him.
The Opposition in Pakistan for long has been attacking Imran Khan alleging that the country’s military establishment interferes in its politics and elections.
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), a 11-party opposition alliance, has been holding massive rallies since its inception in September to seek Imran Khan’s ouster and press the military to stop interfering in politics.
The PDM has been accusing the Pakistan Army of installing “puppet” Prime Minister Khan through a manipulated election in 2018.
The Army, which has ruled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy. However, the military has denied meddling in the country’s politics. Khan also denies that the army helped him win the election in 2018.
In a report, PTI said, “According to the ‘Lahore Declaration’ signed by the Opposition parties on Monday, the military establishment had stolen the people’s mandate in the 2018 election and imposed a ‘hybrid and inefficient’ government on the masses.”
It was this attack that Imran Khan was reportedly responding to during an interview to SAMAA TV on Friday. In it, the Pakistan PM said the Pakistan Army is a state institution, which works under him.
On Opposition’s claims that his government wouldn’t hold if the military did not support it, Imran Khan said reportedly said he is the country’s democratically elected prime minister and so the institutions back him.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz supremo and three-time former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been repeatedly blaming Army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and spy agency ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed of meddling in Pakistan’s political affairs.
Sharif was ousted from power in 2017 by the Supreme Court on corruption charges. He is currently out on bail, has been living in London since November last year after he was allowed by the courts and the government to go there for a period of eight weeks for medical treatment. But he did not come back, while his lawyers told the court that he was still recovering.
Khan said the Opposition does not want to hold talks with the government and is instead pressuring the Army to send a democratic government packing. This can be called treason, he said.