Pak Army wants
to stay away from
politics, not respond
to public criticism

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ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan Army has sought to stay away from politics, and avoid interactions with the political class while not responding to public criticism in an attempt to preserve its credibility and image as the super-saviour of the nation, according to a media report.

The Pakistan Army has been engaged in shadow-boxing in an attempt to preserve its credibility and image while not focusing on or seeking power amid concerns about attacks from the civilian elite section of the society, said a report by Islam Khabar. Army Chief General Qamar Jawed Bajwa issued directions on July 2 and asked his commanders to “stay away” from politics and politicians and avoid interactions with the political class while not responding to the public criticism as it continued to face daily attacks from former Prime Minister Imran Khan.
Notably, Lieutenant General Nadeem Anjum, the Director-General of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), also issued similar orders within three days.
According to analysts, Anjum’s orders are aimed at his predecessor Lieutenant General Faiz Hameed.
It added that the rift between Khan and Bajwa was caused by the former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s attempt to retain Hameed as the ISI head which triggered the political process leading to his ouster. Even though Bajwa has not commented on this, the former prime minister has praised Hameed publicly.
The article said that Khan was recognised as the ‘proxy’ and the army helped him gain power in the 2018 elections, but he decided to go ‘neutral’ despite asserting to be “on the same page” with the army for three years.
The former Prime Minister has been attacking the army for being a part of the United States-organised “international conspiracy” which aimed to bring an ‘imported’ government to power in the country.

Pakistan Army

The analysts added that Khan has provoked both the army and the USA, however, they are not able to find a rationale to prevent Khan from returning to power. This is because of his posturing in public, and support of some senior army officials over Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and Pakistan Muslim League N (PML-N).
Bajwa would have to go by the opinion of the corps commanders to decide whether Khan is given a second chance, Islam Khabar reported citing analysts. Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s coalition government’s inability to improve economic conditions has also contributed to the ‘indecision’ leading to political instability and social distress.
The extended tenure of the Pakistan Army Chief will end in November and it has also been announced by Bajwa that he will not accept another extension if offered.
This would create a difficult situation as a snap poll with an uncertain outcome would leave things in the hands of the future prime ministers, and as a result, he wants the army to stay away from criticism and be strong enough to play its part in the country’s polity and governance. (ANI)