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‘Baseless Gossip’

by Newsweek Pakistan

Spokesman for Pakistan’s armed forces refutes rumors of a rift between the military and civilian leadership

The spokesman for Pakistan’s armed forces on Monday dismissed reports of an alleged rift between the country’s civilian leadership and the military, saying both sides are working together for the betterment of the nation.

“The Army supports democratically elected governments as per the Constitution. This [support] will not waiver, as it is required for the progress and prosperity of Pakistan,” Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor told broadcaster ARY News. “This is baseless gossip. There is absolutely no truth to this,” he added, referring to reports over the weekend that a rift had developed between Prime Minister Imran Khan and Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa.

Ghafoor said claims by certain quarters that the prime minister and the Army chief were not communicating as effectively as they had earlier in the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf’s tenure in government were hogwash. “COAS Bajwa and P.M. Imran [Khan] are regularly in touch. Not all their meetings are covered by the press or merit statements,” he added.

A meeting between P.M. Khan and Gen. Bajwa on Nov. 15, which took place amid the opposition’s anti-government Azadi March protest and the then-looming exit of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif to seek medical treatment abroad, prompted the latest round of rumors. P.M. Khan took two days off public activities following that meeting, which raised eyebrows among political analysts.

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