Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General (DG) Major General Asif Ghafoor has said that Pakistan Army is an impartial institution and its support lies only with the democratically elected government.
Speaking to a private media outlet on Friday night, the military spokesperson said that Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) chief Maulana Fazlur Rehman was a senior politician and he should elaborate as to which institution he was talking about in his Azadi March address.
Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor’s statement came as JUI-F’s anti-government march on Friday reached Islamabad and Fazl trained guns at the “illegitimate” Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government.
Addressing the protesters, he said that they did not want any confrontation with the institutions, but wanted them to be impartial. “We are giving you two days to stop backing the government,” he said, reiterating his demand for the institutions to be impartial.
Following the JUI-F chief’s fiery speech, the ISPR DG said that the army had only discharged its constitutional and legal duties during the 2018 election. “The opposition should take its reservations to the authorities concerned.”
He added that unrest at such a crucial time was not in the better interests of the country.
“So far there has been good coordination between the government and opposition committees,” Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor said and added that democratic issues should only be resolved democratically.
He also said that no one will be allowed to harm the country’s stability.
“We don’t know on what basis he [Maj Gen Asif Ghafoor] has issued the statement,” the JUI-F chief said later in the day while speaking to media after attending a multi-party conference of opposition leaders at his residence.
Fazl added that the statement should have come from a politician instead of the ISPR chief since he represents the institution of army.
Earlier, the JUI-F chief gave Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan two days’ time to tender his resignation. “After this, we will make our own decision. We will not wait anymore.” He expressed his readiness to have a dialogue with the institutions, but said that the government had to go.