Lt Gen (r) Amjad Shoaib, who is among the 26 former military officers allowed by the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) to appear on media as defence analysts, has drawn the ire of hundreds of social media users for defending former Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) spokesperson and prime accused of the 2014 Army Public School (APS) Peshawar massacre, Ehsanullah Ehsan.
“He [Ehsan] did not directly carry out attacks and was ‘brainwashed’. In fact, it is the attackers on suicide missions who are brainwashed and not the other way round,” he said while speaking to a private media outlet on the escape of the former TTP spokesperson from a military jail.
Ehsan had last week claimed in an audio message that he was no longer in the state’s custody and had managed to flee to Turkey. A government official, commenting on the development, had stated that Ehsan had surrendered voluntarily to the government on Feb 5, 2017, under an agreement.
Security sources had told Geo that the state launched many successful anti-terrorism operations based on information provided by Ehsan.
With the former military officer defending Ehsan on-air, he was trained guns at by Twitterati, who said:
“Their views/comments/opinions on media shall remain personal/independent expression and not attributable to the institution,” read an ISPR notification that allowed Shoaib among 25 other ex-military personnel to appear on television as defence analysts.
The notification in April 2019 had come after the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) had instructed all television channels to seek prior clearance from the military’s media wing before inviting retired military officers on news and current affairs programmes “to solicit their views on matters of national security”.