Retired generals term audio clips against army attributed to them 'fake'

Published April 14, 2022
Former Pakistan army chief, retired General Mirza Aslam Beg leaves the Supreme Court after a hearing in Islamabad, March 9, 2012. — AP/File
Former Pakistan army chief, retired General Mirza Aslam Beg leaves the Supreme Court after a hearing in Islamabad, March 9, 2012. — AP/File

Former chief of army staff (COAS) Gen (r) Mirza Aslam Beg, Lieutenant General (r) Mohammad Haroon Aslam and Major General (r) Ijaz Hussain Awan have termed audio clips attributed to them, in which statements have been given against the Pakistan Army and its leadership, "fake" and a "conspiracy against the Pakistan Army".

In an audio message, Gen (r) Beg referred to the audio clips circulating on social media and said: "I condemn and reject the nefarious and preposterous statements against the army and its top leadership that are attributed to me and have surfaced on free media."

"Army is my identity and honour. Each one of its soldiers and officers is respectable for me," he said, adding that he considered speaking against them a misdeed.

The former COAS went on to say he would "continue to speak the truth in army's honour" till he was alive.

Beg said the campaign against the army was a "conspiracy of our enemies".

"Don't become a part of this conspiracy against the army," he added. "Don't tarnish your character and acts. Allah does not like it."

Major General (r) Ijaz Hussain Awan and Lieutenant General (r) Mohammad Haroon Aslam also issued similar messages, denouncing audio clips against the army on social media attributed to them.

While Gen Haroon Aslam said in his video message that the act of "defaming" a retired official through such audio clips was "highly reprehensible", Awan claimed that the clip attributed to him had originated from Indian television.

These clarifications from retired army officials come two days after the country's military leadership took notice of an ongoing "propaganda campaign" against the army on social media and endorsed the position taken by the army's leadership on the political crisis in the country that climaxed with ex-premier Imran Khan’s ouster.

In a statement on the 79th Formation Commanders’ Conference, a semi-annual event at the General Headquarters where the field commanders deliberate on operational and training matters, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said: "The forum took note of the recent propaganda campaign by some quarters to malign [the] Pakistan Army and create division between the institution and society.

"National security of Pakistan is sacrosanct. Pakistan Army has always stood by the state institutions to guard it and always will, without any compromise," the ISPR statement said, adding that the forum "expressed complete confidence in leadership's well considered stance to uphold the Constitution and law at all cost".

The military has come under criticism this week, especially in the wake of former prime minister Imran Khan's ouster through a successful vote of no-confidence. Trends against the armed forces and its leadership have seen intense activity on social media platforms such as Twitter.

According to a Dawn report published on Thursday, the ‘Imported Hukoomat Namanzur’ (imported government unacceptable) hashtag in Urdu alone generated a volume of 17 million tweets, while one anti-army hashtag generated over 69,000 tweets and a similar one over 410,000 tweets in the past few days.

Meanwhile, the Federal Investigation Agency has launched a crackdown against those allegedly involved in running these online campaigns and has been making arrests.

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