KARACHI: The head of the military’s media wing said on Tuesday that the family of former army chief retired Gen Pervez Mush­ar­raf was in contact with the military regarding his planned return to Pakistan in light of his poor health.

Speaking on Dunya News host Kamran Shahid’s programme, Inter-Services Pub­lic Relations Director Gen­eral Maj Gen Babar Iftik­har said that Musharraf’s return to Pakistan from the UAE was a decision for his family and doctors to make, adding: “The stance of the institution and its leadership is that he should come back.”

The comments came days after the ailing former military ruler’s family confirmed that he was “going through a difficult stage where recovery from his ailment was not possible”.

Hours after the ISPR DG’s comments were aired, former prime minister and PML-N supreme leader Nawaz Sharif also tweeted about Gen Musharraf’s mooted return to the country, saying: “I have no personal enmity or animosity towards Pervez Musharraf. I don’t want anyone else to suffer the trauma I have had to endure.”

DG ISPR again refutes claims of ‘US-backed conspiracy’

Nawaz, whose democratically-elected government was ousted by Gen Musahrraf in the 1999 coup, was first imprisoned, tried and then sent into exile. But in his tweet on Tuesday, the former PM called on the government to facilitate his one-time political adversary and prayed for his health.

Earlier, Defence Minister Khawaja Asif had also expre­ssed support for the notion of Musharraf’s return, saying that there should be no obstacle to his coming back.

On Saturday, Mr Asif said on Twitter that “past events should not bear in the matter” and prayed for the former military ruler’s health so he could live his remaining life with dignity.

US-backed conspiracy?

During his appearance on Dunya News, when questioned about former prime minister Imran Khan’s longstanding claim of there being a US-backed conspiracy behind his ouster, the DG ISPR said he had “already clarified” the matter as he proceeded to reject the claim again.

Regarding the first Nati­onal Security Commi­ttee mee­ting on the diplomatic cable at the centre of the conspiracy allegation that was held during Imran’s tenure, the DG ISPR said it was attended by the top military lead­ership and the participants were “clearly and in detail bri­e­fed by agencies that there is no kind of conspiracy or any evidence of it”.

Published in Dawn, June 15th, 2022

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