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Military Establishment rules out any deal with what it terms a ‘bunch of anarchists’

DG ISPR says there is no room for talks with PTI leadership, and proposes to seek an apology from the nation

By Salim Bokhari

May 9, 2024 12:38 AM


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Recently the PTI leadership tried to build a narrative that all is set for talks with the military establishment and the federal government. For this purpose, a three-member committee comprising Asad Qaisar, Shibli Faraz and Omer Ayub was announced.

The objective of this committee was initially to explore opportunities for the early release of the PTI founder, who is serving a long sentence in the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi. Secondly, it was seeking to restore the mandate that the PTI believes was stolen on Feb 8 depriving it of more than 80 National Assembly seats.

This committee could not even take off when the Director General of the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), Maj Gen Ahmad Shareef devastated all PTI narratives and plans saying that there could be no deal or talks with a ‘bunch of anarchists.

“How can there be talks with political leaders and gangsters who attack the army, destroy defence installations, insult the nation’s martyrs, threaten and unleash false propaganda”, the General added.

The DG believed that 9th May was not only the case of the Armed forces, but it was also a case of Pakistan and if those responsible for the crimes on that day were not punished then questions would be raised.

The bitterness and anger in the DG’s tone indicated that he was speaking the mindset of the military leadership. On the PTI’s demand that a judicial commission be formed to investigate the events of May 9, he expressed his surprise saying: “Such commission is formed only when facts are hidden while the incidents of that unfortunate day are crystal clear”.

The DG ISPR’s presentation has nullified the impression that with the outcome of the Feb 8 general elections, the narrative of the May 9 was buried. Maulana Fazlur Rehman was the first to claim that an unexpected number of PTI voters turned out to vote for their candidates proving that the May 9 narrative of the Military Establishment did not hold grounds. There was no reason for comparing May 9th with Feb 8 and doing so was nothing but an element of propaganda.

But the most dangerous thing that the ISPR DG said was that if a commission is formed, it should then unveil the motives behind the 2014 Dharna (sit-in). Besides this, the commission should also investigate the causes behind attacking the Federal Capital (Islamabad) in 2016. Islamabad was set on fire in an attempt by the PTI gangs to break all security barriers and reach the Red Zone.

Comparisons were also drawn by Gen Shareef recalling the event of Capitol Hills when Donald Trump’s supporters tried to get control of the symbol of the United States' might. Each one of the culprits was identified, arrested, tried and punished.

In 2011, what is largely known as the London riots thousands of people indulged in looting and arson between Dec 6 and 11, 2011. In less than a year, a total number of 1,292 people were identified, tried and sent to prison and the average custodial term was 16.8 months.

Therefore, it is abundantly clear that those who commit crimes against the State should not be allowed to go scot-free otherwise they would do it again. But the most important fact is that neither the Press nor the people at large expressed any sympathy with criminals.

In the context of the May 9 events, the role of social media could only be termed as anti-state because it projected the incidents against military installations, Corps Commander House (Jinnah House in Lahore), and General Headquarters (GHQs) as if the PTI hooligans had conquered enemy areas.

The majority of the mainstream national media also got carried away and aired live coverage of these attacks from morning till late at night and the PTI’s favourite anchors glorified the achievements of the attackers. On that day, the normal life in many cities came to a half and the population got scared.

The worst part of the event on May 9 was that allegedly several PTI angry workers carrying petrol bombs tried to make their way into the Mianwali Airbase to target the stationed Pakistan Air Force planes.

One would wish that better sense would prevail since a lot of water has flown under the bridge and efforts must be directed towards creating a grand national reconciliation to rid the people of tension and anguish.

It depends on the PTI's top leadership they should rise above the party interest instead of seeking refuge in the military establishment. It should initiate a dialogue with the contemporary political parties.


Salim Bokhari


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