Military establishment ‘still playing a role in political affairs’: Qureshi

Published April 12, 2023
PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaking on ’Live with Adil Shahzeb on Tuesday night.—Screengrab from DawnNewsTV
PTI leader Shah Mahmood Qureshi speaking on ’Live with Adil Shahzeb on Tuesday night.—Screengrab from DawnNewsTV

Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s (PTI) Vice Chairman Shah Mahmood Qureshi has said that the military establishment was and still is playing a role in political affairs.

“They [the establishment] are saying that they have nothing to do with [political] affairs, this is not true. They are definitely involved. They were and are involved,” said Qureshi, in an interview on Dawn News show ‘Live with Adil Shahzeb’ aired on Tuesday night.

The former foreign minister made the remarks when he was asked about the way forward in the current political crisis and whether the military could play a part despite their avowed stance of staying away from the political affairs of the country.

“This is not true that they have nothing to do with political affairs. With due respect, they played a role [in the past] and are still playing a role in political affairs,” he added.

When asked about the extent of the army’s role in the present political affairs, Qureshi said: “That’s another debate so let’s let that be, but the country is sinking, there is a [political] stalemate and we are on the verge of an economic and constitutional crisis […] there is a perfect storm in the making, should the institutions shut their eyes?”

Qaiser’s remarks ‘not party policy’

Qureshi also disowned former National Assembly speaker Asad Qaiser’s remarks on the same television show last week, in which he had said that the PTI was open to considering a one-time constitutional amendment for adjustments to the election schedule beyond the 90-day requirement under the law.

Qaiser had also suggested that the PTI was ready to negotiate with the government.

“We want the government to sit together [with us for talks on elections] and we are also ready for a constitutional amendment if for one time, the [polls] can be extended beyond 90 days. What more flexibility can we offer?” the former speaker had said in last week’s interview.

“This is not the party’s policy,” Qureshi said when asked about it. “It’s absolutely not [the party’s policy].” When asked whether it was Qaiser’s personal opinion, Qureshi said that Qaiser had already clarified his position afterwards.

“We are subject to the Constitution and the Constitution says that elections will take place in 90 days,” Qureshi said, explaining the PTI’s stance.

The former foreign minister stated that negotiations could take place but only for assemblies which have not been dissolved.

“Negotiations can take place where the assembly has not dissolved, for example, Sindh, Balochistan and the National Assembly. PTI is ready to negotiate with the government regarding these assemblies.”

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