Army denies ‘backdoor contacts’ with opposition

Published February 9, 2021
In this file photo, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addresses a press conference.. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar addresses a press conference.. — DawnNewsTV/File

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan Army on Monday rejected speculation about “backdoor contacts” with opposition politicians and cautioned against dragging the military into political squabbles.

Military spokesman Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar, in comments on various private TV channels, said: “Army does not need backdoor contacts with anyone and is doing its job.”

The ISPR director general’s remarks come against the backdrop of renewed rumours about contacts between the opposition and the military.

The Pakistan Democratic Movement, a 10-party opposition alliance, plans to start its long march from March 26 to generate public pressure for dislodging the government. A lot of focus in the political arena is, meanwhile, also on the upcoming Senate elections and the mode of voting for the polls.

ISPR chief rejects as ‘false and fake’ reports about Iranian intelligence operation in Pakistani territory

Maj Gen Iftikhar challenged those behind the rumours to bring forth any proof about their claims. “Tell publicly who was contacted by whom and who spoke to whom instead of levelling allegations. There is no such thing going on,” he said. He said the army was too important an institution to be dragged into such controversies. “Please keep us out of it, this is not good for anyone,” he asserted.

He reiterated that the army had got nothing to do with politics and it should be left alone for the politicians.

The ISPR chief, while responding to a question, rejected as “false and fake” reports that Iran had conducted an intelligence operation in Pakistani territory to free its soldiers abducted in October 2018. The ‘fake news’ about the alleged Iranian operation began circulating after Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) claimed to have freed two guards from the captivity of terrorist group Jaishul Adl through a “successful operation” in southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan.

Turkey’s Anadolu agency first gave a spin to the news and reported that IRGC had claimed an operation in Pakistani territory. The news was then picked up by the Indian media.

Maj Gen Iftikhar said that “fake news has become India’s forte”. “The news regarding Iran is absolutely false. It could not have happened, it didn’t happen,” he emphasised. The spokesman regretted that India’s mainstream media too was becoming part of the fake news and was losing its credibility.

About Pakistan’s efforts to sensitise the international community about Indian attempts to malign it, he said those have been successful to a great extent.

Referring to various international reports, he said: “Our view has been accepted and is being taken seriously.” Maj Gen Iftikhar recalled that Pakistan had presented a dossier to the world to expose India’s sinister campaign to damage Pakistan’s reputation

Published in Dawn, February 9th, 2021

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