Synopsis

Who spreads rumours about secret deals?

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The rumours about an alleged deal between the military establishment and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) supreme leader Nawaz Sharif were so rife and intense – after a PML-N leader’s statement that Nawaz was soon to return from London – that the chief military spokesperson had to officially reject these speculations during one of his recent briefings to media.  “I will say these are baseless speculations. Ask this question from those who talk about such things,” Major General Babar Iftikhar, the director general of the Inter-Service Public Relation (ISPR) said on January 6. Bol News asked experts and analysts as to why such rumours were spread which ultimately undermined the image of the armed forces.

Lt. General (R) Naeem Khalid Lodhi  Former Defence Minister of Pakistan

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ollowing the statement of the DG ISPR, it has become clear that the military’s top brass is not meddling in the political affairs; so the political parties should stop dragging the armed forces in the political affairs.

If we look at the checkered political history of the country one suspects the role of establishment in the political affairs and this time too, the involvement of some elements in the establishment in the political matters could not be ruled out.

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But the statement of the ISPR chief should also be taken seriously. I think Major General Babar Iftikhar is a man of impeccable credibility and all what he said was based on facts.

He minced no words while saying that those spreading rumours of a deal with Nawaz Sharif should be asked to come up with proofs and tell the people of Pakistan who is cutting a deal with whom.

So now everybody should stop speculating about the establishment’s meddling in political affairs and focus on solving the problems of the people of Pakistan and putting their own houses in order.

After the recently held first phase of local government (LG) elections in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial government wants to hold the next phase of these elections under the supervision of the army.

But I think the army should not accept this request as the PTI has a strong position in the areas where elections are to be held in the next phase.  Obviously, the party would perform well and resultantly it would have a negative impact on the image of the Armed Forces.

I think things will not improve until the political parties bring democracy into their structures. Now even the parties like Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F) have turned into family affairs with the scions of the party leaders automatically replacing their predecessors.

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Dr. Manzoor Ahmad Naazer An academic

 

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n a civilized world armed forces perform their duties as per the law and constitution of the land and do not interfere in political affairs. If we look at the political history of the country, we see that the establishment has been playing a role in politics. In the past, political parties used to give the impression that they had links with the establishment and that they benefited from such an allegiance.

This impression, however, damaged the credibility of the armed forces as a national institution. Such practice became more common after 2014 when the PPP and the PML-N tried to create the impression that they were close to the establishment. Political parties should avoid creating such an impression as it is not good for both democratic institutions as well as the armed forces.

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People like [interior minister] Sheikh Rashid who boast about their links with the army should be discouraged as the impression that they create weakens the political dispensation in the country while also undermining the national institutions.

Political parties should not create an impression or drag the establishment into political affairs. At the same time, the establishment should try to stay neutral as it is the only way to move forward and to establish real democratic culture in the country.

In fact the PML-N should have come forward even before the DG ISPR to reject the impression to help avert the confusion and chaos that continued for almost a month.

However, it was only after the ISPR statement that PML-N leader Ahsan Iqbal claimed that his party had struck a deal “only with the people and not with any institution.”

I think he should have come up with this statement much earlier to nullify the impression of a deal which kept the whole country on tenterhooks for well over a month.

 

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Dr Maria Sultan Chairperson and President of SASS) University

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t is regrettable that the establishment is dragged into politics by certain elements in political parties. The propaganda that the Establishment had struck a deal with the PML-N about the return of Nawaz Sharif was so intense that the DG ISPR had to clarify the armed forces’ position.

Maj Gen Iftikhar said such things only add to the confusion and do not do any service to the people of Pakistan. The political parties should carry forward their programmes and manifestos as their performance should be judged on the basis of their services to the people and not their linkage to some powerful institutions.

By dragging the establishment into politics, some political parties or the elements behind them are doing no service to democracy. Instead, the political parties should focus on strengthening the democratic institutions.

It is also absurd to drumbeat that the civil and military leaderships are on the same page as the armed forces always stand with the political governments and remain within the ambit of their defined role in the Constitution.

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The political governments should focus on their performance because they would be judged on the basis of what they have done in education, health and other sectors to bring betterment to the lives of the people of Pakistan and not on the basis of their relationship with any institution.

So instead of wasting their energies on creating an impression of having the backing of the establishment, the political parties should focus on their agendas and service to the people of Pakistan.

A government’s performance is judged on the basis of its governance and the relief provided to the people of a country.  The political parties in Pakistan should focus on their performance instead of indulging in activities which are not in the interest of democratic institutions.

 

Ehtashamul Haq Senior analyst and TV Anchor

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his time, National Assembly former speaker Ayaz Sadiq came up with the news of Nawaz Sharif’s return. On his return from the UK after meeting with Nawaz, he said he would return to the UK to bring him back. He, however, abruptly changed his stance and said Nawaz Sharif would return on January 31. Unfortunately, the media created a hype and tried to establish that some deal is in the offing.

Earlier, Nawaz Sharif’s return was linked with provision of justice to him. Nawaz’s daughter had even sought a guarantee that life of the former premier would be safeguarded and claimed that if she got such a guarantee she would bring her father back in a day.

Unfortunately, the media also started spreading the propaganda that Nawaz Sharif and the establishment had struck a secret deal paving the way for his safe return and eventual ascension to power.

In my view, Nawaz Sharif is not returning any sooner as he went out of the country in a bid to escape the hardships of jail. Why would he return when he knew that he would land in jail?

Actually elections are drawing closer and the PML-N leadership is worried about the performance of the party in the polls in the possible absence of Nawaz Sharif. The party leaders are raising the question and want clarity on the return plan of Nawaz.

Another reason why the news about Nawaz Sharif’s imminent return is spread time and again is to ensure that the voters and leaders do not leave the party.

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The party leadership is also confused as Nawaz Sharif is still holding the strings of the party.  After Nawaz’s disqualification, the party had to appoint Shehbaz Sharif as the new party chief. However, he is not delegating the powers to Shehbaz, creating confusion in the party’s parliamentarians and leaders. The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is left with only 18 months before the next general elections and now they have to do some concrete work for the welfare of the people and this time mere slogans would not work.

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