ISLAMABAD: With the change of command in the Pakistan Army, PTI has lost all its contacts with the military establishment.
PTI top spokesman and former information minister Fawad Chaudhry when contacted confirmed that ever since the appointment of new Army Chief General Asim Munir there is absolutely no contact with the PTI and the military establishment at any level.
Sources in the military establishment when contacted also endorse it, insisting that for being apolitical they are not in contact with political leaders of any political party. The PTI, however, does not seem to agree with the establishment’s claim of being apolitical.
During General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tenure, quite a few PTI leaders even after the removal of Imran Khan government were in touch with not only the then Army Chief but also with senior officers of the ISI.
While the new Army Chief General Asim Munir has focused himself on pure professional matters, the ISI senior officers who in the past were interacting with the PTI leaders or receiving their call are no longer available for any kind of discussion.
A former senior member of the military establishment recently told The News that now only an officer of the level of major is available to receive PTI calls. However, sources in the present establishment say that all ISI officials have been barred from interacting with leaders of any political party.
According to Fawad Chaudhry, the establishment’s claim that it is apolitical and is not in contact with any political party is though impressive as a talking point, in reality it is not neutral. He confirmed that there is no contact between the PTI and the military establishment at any level.
Chaudhry said that the PTI wants to revive its contacts with the military establishment for better working coordination. In the absence of such a contact, he said, misunderstandings are created between the two sides.
Fawad said that during General Bajwa’s tenure, he was conveyed thrice that the then prime minister Imran Khan wanted to sack him whereas in actual there was no such thing. Fawad said that since there was a contact between the two sides so it was timely clarified.
Fawad Chaudhry said that if the military establishment really gets apolitical and does not contact any political party then it would be an ideal situation. But, he said, we know this is not the case. The establishment sources, however, insist that they are apolitical and there is no truth in PTI’s claim that the institution is behind the efforts to unite the MQM, joining of PPP by BAP leaders or influencing PTI MPAs from Punjab to desist them from participating in Chief Minister Pervez Elahi’s vote of confidence.
Of late the PTI Chairman Imran Khan has said that they have no contact with the military establishment. Khan has also alleged the present establishment of being involved in political engineering.
Meanwhile a source, who till a few months back was closely associated with Imran Khan, claimed that the President Dr Arif Ali wanted to facilitate an interaction between Khan and the incumbent Army Chief General Asim Munir but it could not happen. This information, however, could not be confirmed from independent sources.
It should be remembered that the PTI and its Chairman Imran Khan have been the favourites of the military establishment, which did everything to bring Khan into power in 2018. The PTI government had also received the kind of support from the establishment which had no parallel in the history of Pakistan. However, after the removal of his government, Khan confronted the same establishment and hurled all kinds of accusations against it, which interestingly was also unprecedented.
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