Pakistan Army is the national army and all political parties are respectable: DG ISPR

ISLAMABAD: The chief military spokesperson has said Pakistan Army is a “national army” and that all politicians and parties are “respectable.
In a maiden press conference on Tuesday, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry gave detailed briefing on the current security situation both on eastern and western borders as well as other professional matters.
However, during a question answer session, the DG ISPR also spoke about the role of army in the Punjab elections, social media campaign against the military leadership and possibility of disciplinary action against the retired generals.
“Pakistan Army is a national army… for us all politicians, all parties are respectable,” Maj Gen Sharif said while replying to a question.
He said that everyone has the right to have an opinion, adding that Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir has reiterated that people of Pakistan are the source of power.
“The army will not want to go to any one ideology or party. Every region is represented in the army. The cooperation of the army with them is to the extent of operations against terrorism,” he stressed.
The DG ISPR, while answering a question regarding the campaign against the army on social media, said that using army for a particular political or religious cause can lead to chaos.
He further said that both the people and the army would not want the army to be associated with any particular political party.
“Political leaders should strengthen our thinking. The army and the politicians have a non-political relationship, it will not be appropriate to give it a political colour.”
When asked about the arrest of Lt Gen (Retd) Amjad Shoaib, the DG ISPR said, “Veterans (retired soldiers) are our asset. Their sacrifices are for the forces of Pakistan. Veteran groups are not political organisations, but charitable organisations. They should not do politics.”
In response to a question regarding the provision of military personnel for elections in Punjab, he said that the deployment of Pakistan forces is done by the federal government under Article 245. The position that the Ministry of Defence has told the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Supreme Court (in this matter) is based on the facts on the ground.
When he was asked about the current army chief’s statement in parliament wherein he stated, “We should talk about our Pakistan instead of Naya or Purana Pakistan’, the DG ISPR explained that, the army chief had said that to deal with the challenges, all the stakeholders of the country should establish a consensus.
When asked if Imran Khan had become a security risk and is there going to be an emergency or martial law in the country after Eidul Fitr, Gen Chaudhry said that propaganda against the military authorities is being carried out on social media through anonymous accounts. “Now it is up to you how you see it.”
When asked whether General (Retd) Qamar Javed Bajwa and General (Retd) Faiz should be court-martialed as there was perception that both ex-generals exceeded their mandate and are responsible for the current mess, he said for any news related to the army, keep your eyes only on the press release of ISPR as they were the only source.
“Many fake accounts of ISPR are active on social media… keep an eye on authentic accounts only. In this way, you will not go to anxiety-type questions and assumptions.”
Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry said that the army has its own detailed system. “If there is any criticism, it is dealt with, but the system is based on facts and due process. Its aim is to provide justice to all parties. Its purpose is not to act on the basis of rumours.”