The political parties that comprised Pakistan’s opposition prior to the ouster of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan as prime minister on Thursday heralded a press conference of the military’s spokesman for ‘exposing’ the lies of the former ruling party.
Responding to questions of journalists during a press conference on Thursday evening, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director-General Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar clarified that the word “conspiracy” had not been used in the statement issued after a meeting of the National Security Committee. Likewise, he said, the U.S. had never asked Pakistan for any military bases and emphasized that the military had no role in politics and did not wish to impose martial law on the country.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Senator Mustafa Nawaz Khokhar, in a posting on Twitter, said the press conference had exposed as false Khan’s lies and the narrative being peddled by his party to allege a foreign conspiracy behind his ouster. “Imran Khan blatantly lied that opposition leaders had approached him though the COAS [Chief of Army Staff],” he said. “Today, the DG ISPR has revealed that it was Imran Khan who had approached the Army chief for help,” he said, adding that the former prime minister should publicly apologize for his false statements and attempts to politicize security institutions.
Similarly, PPP Senator Raza Rabbani told a public gathering in Peshawar that the “real conspiracy” against Pakistan was the repeated dismantling of institutions functioning under the Constitution. Regretting the PTI’s “attacks” on the judiciary, he said the courts had no choice but to intervene in Parliament when elected officials had paralyzed the Lower House and were actively violating the Constitution.
Reacting to the press conference on Twitter, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari described it as a “breath of fresh air for democracy,” stressing that it was the responsibility “not only of every institution” but also every Pakistani to support democracy, Constitution and the rule of law. “The Parliament, judiciary and establishment’s transition from controversial to constitutional role will not be easy. The answer to all of Pakistan’s problems is democracy, democracy and more democracy. If we continue on this path, no power on earth can stop Pakistan’s progress,” he added.
From the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal said the former prime minister had repeatedly deceived the nation by claiming the National Security Committee had validated his “foreign conspiracy” allegations. “He [Khan] has set the worst kind of example by using national interests and institutions for political gain and misleading the nation,” he said in a posting on Twitter. “This isn’t just sad, it is shameful,” he added.
PMLN Vice President Maryam Nawaz, meanwhile, directly Khan and said all his lies had been exposed by the military spokesman. “You [Imran] played a dangerous game to cling to power. Serious forums like the NSC were used to prop up the conspiracy drama. Fake slogan of ‘absolutely not’ was raised against military bases that were never even demanded,” she wrote on Twitter. “You pleaded with the establishment for NRO, lied that they had given you the option to resign,” she continued.
“The time has come for you to be held accountable for all your lies,” she said. “You must be held accountable for your condemnable efforts to play with national security only for the sake of power. Show courage. Don’t run away as usual because this time the nation will not let you run away,” she added.