LAHORE: Punjab Chief Minister Parvez Elahi has advised the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leadership to disassociate itself from the anti-army statement given by Shahbaz Gill, chief of staff to PTI chairman Imran Khan.

“I have given a statement against Shahbaz Gill’s tirade against Pakistan Army, which is an important national institution, and asked him whether he had gone out of his senses,” Mr Elahi stated in an interview to a news channel on Wednesday.

Mr Elahi asserted that Gill’s statement had done more damage than good and added that he had no right to go against the party policy. He said he and his son Moonis Elahi had convinced PTI chairman that there was no “step forward” without the support of Pakistan Army. He said the Pakistan Army was not only defending Pakistani borders but also first defence line against any natural calamity in the country.

In another interview to a news channel, the chief minister said Mr Khan had been convinced to mend relations with the army and matters were being sorted out. He said every Pakistani patriot was asking Imran Khan to keep cool relations with the army to achieve success. “Imran Khan has shown flexibility in this case and given a statement that any person, who gives statement against Pakistan Army was not a patriot Pakistani,” CM Elahi added.

“This renewal of PTI’s relationship with the Pakistan Army is hurting the PML-N and PPP leaders,” he claimed.

About Punjab government’s relationship with the federal government, Mr Elahi said he had neither spoken to Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif nor would speak to him in future. However, he said, he had instructed the chief secretary and police chief to give due protocol to the prime minister and implement his orders in the province. He said he wanted the prime minister to reciprocrate and do the needful.

Published in Dawn, August 11th, 2022

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