Pakistan: Imran has constitutional right to criticise ‘military’s decisions’- Umar


Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) senior leader Asad Umar has said that party chairman and former prime minister Imran Khan has a constitutional right to criticise the military’s decisions, saying that the latter never said anything to weaken the institution of the army.

“Strong army is an essential part of the country’s defence in facing global and geographical challenges. It’s not necessary to agree to all decisions taken by the military and to criticise some decisions which Imran Khan believes are not correct is his constitutional right,” Umar said while addressing a press conference in Lahore on Thursday.

He said this while addressing a joint press conference along with other PTI leaders including Shah Mahmood Qureshi, Shireen Mazari, Fawad Chaudhry and others.

The PTI presser came in response to an unprecedented news conference of director generals of the country’s premier intelligence service and the military’s media wing wherein they slammed the PTI chairman’s ‘controversial’ statements against the military leadership.

Umar leader said Imran did not make any unconstitutional demand in his meeting with the army chief and the party only wanted free and fair elections in the country.

“Imran firmly believes that Pakistan’s economy can never prosper without the rule of law,” he said while referring to the PTI chief’s claim that the country’s establishment had a different point of view on accountability drive than him when he was the prime minister.

Responding to the military leaders’ statement on politics of hatred and chaos, Umar compared the country’s prevailing political crisis with the 1971 disintegration, saying the country split into two because people’s mandate was not respected and powerful people tried to impose decisions through force.

At the start of the presser, PTI Vice Chairman Shah Mehmood Qureshi said his party was not responsible for instability in the country but blamed the no-confidence motion moved by the opposition in March against ex-PM Imran for the crisis.

Qureshi said Imran’s meeting with the army chief had only one point agenda – free and fair elections. The former foreign minister added that the only way forward to the current crisis is the transparent polls.

The PTI leader asked if their narrative on cypher is based on lies “then why did the National Security Committee (NSC) decide to issue demarche”.

“It’s contrary to the fact that we used this cypher to spread fake narrative,” he added.

“The PTI has always respected state institutions and their leaders. The PTI does not want to cause harm to any institution rather we wanted to strengthen them,” Qureshi said.

He also asked the military to take notice of anti-army slogans raised during the recent Asma Jahangir Conference.

Reacting to the top military leaders’ unprecedented presser, PTI leader Fawad Chaudhry said, “We are shocked by their press conference. We cannot respond to their press conferences as the relationship of mutual respect must remain intact.”

Fawad said respecting the Pakistan Army and its leaders is incumbent upon everyone but added that respect for political leaders is equally important.

Responding to the DG ISPR statement, Fawad said slain journalist Arshad Sharif did not leave the country on the advice of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government.

He also lamented that no press conference was held by any government official to respond to India’s defence minister’s warning to invade Azad Jammu and Kashmir and