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Pakistan Army ‘should not be dragged into politics’: DG ISPR

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The army is subservient to the government: “It does not need to get involved in politics, nor should it be dragged into it”, Director-General Inter-Service Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar said Monday.

During a Q&A session with participants of a wide-ranging briefing to the press, the DG ISPR said that there has been no backdoor contact with Opposition parties as is being speculated in the media.

“Absolutely not,” he said.

Maj Gen Iftikhar further said that the criticism levelled by the Opposition parties against the military was “baseless” and that the government had given a suitable response to those statements.

“The military is doing its job despite all that is being said about it,” he said. “Our concern [regarding the targeting of the armed forces] is separate.”

“The government of that time had asked the army to conduct the elections and the military followed their orders with honesty and to the best of its ability,” he said, clarifying that there had been no rigging in the 2018 elections.

“Even if they [the opposition parties] have doubts about it [the result of the election], they can approach the respective institutions,” he suggested.

“To level allegations is not right. The army is subservient to the government and the government has responded to these allegations in a better way.”

‘We will serve them tea’

Asked what the army thinks of the Pakistan Democratic Movement’s Maulana Fazlur Rahman saying that he will march to Rawalpindi, Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said he does not see any reason for the PDM to head to Rawalpindi.

“If it all they want to come, we will take care of them. Serve them tea [chai paani]. What more can I say,” he quipped as the mediapersons present broke into smiles.

When asked if there would be any action taken against those smearing the army, the ISPR chief said the army is simply doing its job and will respond to criticism only when it is felt that is based on facts or holds some weight.

“We our pre-occupied and do not want to get involved in such things nor will we. We have stayed the course [and] we will stay the course.”

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