ISLAMABAD: A senior leader of the PTI has shared an old news report on her social media handle ‘Twitter’ suggesting that the Pakistan military chief’s recent visit to the United States was linked to formalising the agreement between two countries to use Pakistani airspace. The claim is false. General Qamar Javed Bajwa was on an official visit to the United States, which was announced by the ISPR’s website on October 2.
A day later, on October 3, PTI’s Shireen Mazari wrote: “So there you have it! Why the US engineered regime change conspiracy after then PM IK said ‘absolutely not’ to the US bases. Is that why VIP visit right now to US also? Can DG ISPR throw some light on this?”
In her tweet, the former human rights minister also shared an article by the CNN titled: “US nearing a formal agreement to use Pakistan’s airspace to carry out military operations in Afghanistan.” The tweet got nearly 500 retweets and 812 likes.
The referred CNN article was from the last year edition dated October 23, 2021, when Mazari’s own political party, PTI was in power. The report, which was based on anonymous sources, stated that the Biden administration was nearing a formalised agreement with Pakistan to use its airspace to conduct military operations in Afghanistan.
Soon after the article was published in the last year, the Pakistan Foreign Office denied the report. “No such understanding was in place,” it stated. The question was also put to the DG ISPR in April, to which he replied: “They [Americans] never asked for bases.” Neither had any news of a formal agreement between the two countries was surfaced since October 2021 to date.
Mazari later deleted her tweet and then wrote on Twitter that she had shared the 2021 report to ask who the “US was talking to for this agreement when in June 2021 then PM IK has already said ‘absolutely not’ to drone facilities and bases?” She added that with the “imported govt now in place and their string pullers, will the agreement move forward?”