KARACHI: Amid speculation that the civil-military relationship is under strain at the moment, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) chief on Monday said the government and the army are “on the same page” and meetings between the prime minister and army chief are necessary for the country’s progress.
A private news channel said on Monday that Major General Asif Ghafoor, the ISPR director general, told the host of Off the Record programme that there was no difference of opinion on the issues of the state with the government.
“The army is supporting a democratically elected government as per the Constitution and there will be no let-up in this as that’s must for progress and prosperity of Pakistan,” the ARY News quoted the ISPR chief as telling the host.
Only last Friday, Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa called on Prime Minister Imran Khan. According to the Prime Minister Office, Mr Khan and Gen Bajwa discussed the security situation within the country, the situation in India-held Kashmir, Pak-Afghan border and the internal security.
But what sparked rumours was Mr Khan’s decision to suspend his official and party engagements for two days to spend the weekend at his Banigala residence following the Friday meeting.
The programme host said that he spoke to the military’s chief spokesperson the other day and asked him about speculation on social media that there was some lack of understanding or consensus on various issues between the premier and the army chief and that there was a long gap between their last two meetings.
Rejecting all such reports as “baseless gossip”, the ISPR chief told the host that the prime minister and the army chief were in regular touch with each other.
“Meetings take place as and when required and at times not every meeting is covered in media. There have been meetings and telephone calls between the two in period between the last two meetings covered in media,” he said.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2019