Zubair claims meetings were in personal capacity and he did not seek any relief for either Nawaz Sharif or Maryam Nawaz
Pakistan Army chief Gen. Qamar Javed Bajwa met Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) leader Mohammad Zubair twice—once in August and again in September—according to Inter-Services Public Relations Director-General Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar.
The military spokesman told private broadcaster ARY that former prime minister Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, had been discussed during the meetings initiated at Zubair’s request. He claimed ISI chief Lt. Gen. Faiz Hameed had also attended one of the meetings, adding that the Army chief had clarified that all legal problems must be solved through courts, and that political problems should be handled by Parliament.
“The Army chief had said that the armed forces must be kept away from these talks,” claimed the ISPR director-general.
The Army spokesman’s statement came hours after former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi claimed that no PMLN members had held one-on-one meetings with the Army chief in the recent past. It also follows the opposition’s all-parties conference, during which Sharif had lashed out at the military’s interference in Pakistan’s political process and called for an end to any role of the armed forces in elections.
In a posting on Twitter, Zubair confirmed that he had met the Army chief twice but said it was a “personal” meeting. Referring to the Army chief as an “old friend,” he said that their families had a long history and their discussion had mostly dealt with the economy and Pakistan’s political situation. Nawaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz were mentioned in this context, he clarified.
“The first thing I told him was that I am not seeking relief for myself, the party, Maryam or Nawaz Sharif,” he said. “Neither Maryam nor Nawaz Sharif asked me to hold the meetings [with Army chief],” he said, adding that such meetings are usually kept secret.
In a subsequent media appearance on Geo News, the former governor confirmed that the ISI chief had been present during his second meeting with Gen. Bajwa, adding that Lt. Gen. Hameed had directly asked him “what are you asking for?” He said that his response had remained that he wasn’t asking for anything, adding that it appeared the ISI chief had thought he was seeking relief.
The PMLN leader claimed he had not informed either Sharif or Maryam of his meetings, adding that they had not been sought on their direction.