The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Monday that “irresponsible and baseless allegations” by PTI Chairman Imran Khan against a serving senior military officer without evidence were “extremely unfortunate, deplorable and unacceptable”.
During a rally on Saturday, the PTI chairman had accused a senior intelligence official of orchestrating plans to murder him.
“I am on the roads despite verifiable threats to life. I have already escaped an assassination attempt once. On the second occasion, I was able to sniff out murder planning,” he had said.
This is not the first time the ex-premier has made these claims. After an assassination attempt last year, Imran had held Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah and the senior intelligence official as being responsible for the bid to assassinate him and demanded they resign.
In a statement issued today, the military’s media wing said: “Chairman PTI has levelled highly irresponsible and baseless allegations against a serving senior military officer without any evidence.
“This fabricated and malicious allegation is extremely unfortunate, deplorable and unacceptable.”
“This has been a consistent pattern for the last year wherein military and intelligence agencies officials are targeted with insinuations and sensational propaganda for the furtherance of political objectives,” it said.
“We ask the political leader concerned to make recourse to legal avenues and stop making false allegations,” the ISPR said, adding that the institution reserved the right to “take legal course of action against patently false and malafide statements and propaganda”.
A day earlier, PM Shehbaz had also criticised Imran and said: “Imran Niazi’s act of routinely maligning and threatening the Pakistan Army and Intelligence Agency for the sake of petty political gains is highly condemnable.”
“His levelling of allegations without any proof against Gen Faisal Naseer and officers of our Intelligence Agency cannot be allowed and will not be tolerated,” Shehbaz had added.
Are military officers above the law, asks Imran
In a series of tweets earlier today, Imran had responded to PM Shehbaz, asking if as a citizen of Pakistan he did not have the right to nominate those he felt were responsible for the assassination attacks on him. “Why was I denied my legal and constitutional right to register an FIR?
“Does SS [Shehbaz Sharif’s] tweet mean military officers are above the law or that they cannot commit a crime? If we allege one of them has committed a crime, how is the institution being maligned?” he questioned.
“Who was so powerful to sabotage the Wazirabad JIT (joint investigation team) while the PTI government was still in power in Punjab?”
The PTI chief also mentioned the clashes at the Islamabad Judicial Complex on March 18, where he had appeared before the court for a hearing of the Toshakhana case. During the day-long fiasco, the federal capital had turned into a battleground as the police and PTI supporters came face to face.
Subsequently, Imran had alleged that assassins had been placed outside the judicial complex with plans to kill him.
Reiterating the same in his tweets today, he said: “Can Shehbaz Sharif answer why the ISI took over ICT Judicial Complex evening before my appearance there on March 18? Why were ISI personnel in CTD and lawyers camouflaged? What was the motive and what business did ISI have in the Complex?”
He then said that when the PM did find the answers to these questions, they would all point to “one powerful man and his accomplices all being above the law”.
“It is time for us to officially declare that in Pakistan there is only the law of the jungle where might is right,” Imran added.