Maulana Fazlur Rehman responds by saying the statement is not becoming of an impartial institution
Pakistan’s armed forces are an impartial state institution that supports democratically elected governments in light of the Constitution, said military spokesman Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor on Friday.
He was responding to question about Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam (JUIF) Maulana Fazlur Rehman urging “state institutions” to stop supporting the “illegitimate [PTI-led] government.”
In an interview with ARY TV, Inter-Service Public Relations Directorate Director-General Maj. Gen. Asif Ghafoor said Rehman was a senior politician and should clarify who he was referring to. “Pakistan’s armed forces are an impartial state institution that always support democratically elected governments,” he said, adding, “Nobody will be allowed to create instability as the country cannot afford chaos.”
He said the armed forces had paid countless sacrifices to restore peace to Pakistan after decades of terrorism, adding no one would be allowed to reverse these gains.
The JUIF chief, addressing tens of thousands of supporters at his ‘Azadi March,’ alleged the PTI government had come to power through “systematic rigging” in last year’s general elections and thus had no right to form government. The ISPR spokesman said the military had merely fulfilled its constitutional responsibility to ensure free and fair elections. “If the opposition has any reservations [about the polls], it can approach the relevant forums instead of leveling allegations on the streets,” he added.
“In democracies, issues should be resolved democratically,” he said, adding he hoped the government and opposition would sort out contentious matters amicably.
Responding to the ISPR spokesman’s statement later, the JUIF chief questioned the reasoning behind it. “I would like to ask him [the ISPR spokesman] the basis for giving this statement,” he said. “He represents the armed forces… this statement should have come from a politician. The Pakistan Army is an unprejudiced institution, as he has said in his statement, and it should have continued to remain unbiased,” he added. “By issuing this statement, he has come across as a biased party and we do not feel this is appropriate.”