Thursday June 20, 2024

PTI’s failure to woo military establishment

By Ansar Abbasi
March 31, 2023

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf has been trying through some retired generals to re-establish its contact with the military establishment but it did not happen.

Sources in the PTI told The News that the military establishment remains non-responsive to the party’s efforts. It is said that the PTI wants to re-establish its lost contact with the military establishment for a working relationship.

One of the PTI leaders, who has been involved in these efforts, said that the party would assure the military establishment that it will not be vindictive to anyone once it comes into power. It is said that even those named by Imran Khan in his public statements will not be targeted. But despite all these assurances and efforts, the desired results have not been achieved.

Interestingly, while Imran Khan publicly continues to target the military establishment for one reason or the other, behind the scenes, the PTI is doing exactly the opposite. It may be some strategy of the PTI but for independent observers such tactics make the party and its leader unpredictable and untrustworthy.

With the change of command in the Pakistan Army in November last, PTI had lost all its contacts with the military establishment. This fact was admitted by Imran Khan and some of his party leaders more than once. Khan has also been lamenting that despite his desire to meet or talk to the incumbent Army Chief General Asim Munir, there is complete silence on the other side.

The Army Chief, however, in his recent interaction with top businessmen had made it clear that he would not interfere in political matters.

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 on pure professional matters, senior ISI officers, who in the past were interacting with the PTI leaders or receiving their calls, are also no longer available for any kind of discussion.

Weeks back, Fawad Chaudhry confirmed to this correspondent that there is no contact between the PTI and military establishment at any level. Chaudhry had also been expressing his party’s desire of reviving PTI’s lost contacts with the military establishment for better working coordination. In the absence of such a contact, he said, misunderstandings are being created between the two sides.

A few days back, former Speaker National Assembly and senior PTI leader Asad Qaiser said that Imran Khan does not want a fight with the military establishment.

Talking to The News, he had also assured that Imran Khan’s agenda is to move the country towards progress and prosperity without any personal grudge against anyone, including those representing the establishment.

Qaiser reminded that Imran Khan in a public statement has even forgiven those who had allegedly planned the plot to assassinate him in Wazirabad during PTI’s last year long march. Asad Qaiser strongly dispelled the impression that Imran Khan could get personal against someone after coming into power.