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‘No Backdoor Contacts Between Army and Opposition’

by Newsweek Pakistan

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Military spokesman says armed forces should not be dragged into controversy without proof

The Pakistan Army on Monday reiterated that it had no “backdoor contacts” with opposition leaders, with the military’s spokesman urging against dragging the armed forces into politics.

Speaking with private TV channels, Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) DG Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar said that the Army is doing its job and does not need to conduct backdoor contacts with anyone. In recent weeks, rumors of the military negotiating with the opposition have been fanned by members of the Pakistan Democratic Movement, which has announced a long march on Islamabad from March 26 to pressure the government into stepping down.

Addressing the rumors, the military spokesman challenged anyone claiming backdoor contacts to provide proof of their allegations. “Publicly share who was contacted by whom and who spoke to whom instead of levelling allegations. There is no such thing going on,” he said, adding that the Army was too vital an institution to be dragged into such controversies. “Please keep us out of it, this is not good for anyone,” he said.

Reiterating that the Army had no active role in politics, he said it should be left to the politicians.

To a question, the ISPR chief rejected as “fake” reports that Iran had conducted an intelligence operation inside Pakistan to free soldiers abducted in October 2018. Claiming that it had been spread by Indian media, he said this had become commonplace. “The news regarding Iran is absolutely false. It could not have happened, it didn’t happen,” he said.

Maj. Gen. Iftikhar said Pakistan’s efforts to raise awareness about Indian attempts to malign had been successful to a great extent, adding that various international media had reported on Delhi’s disinformation attempts. He said the dossier Pakistan had provided to the world last year of India funding and fomenting terrorism in Pakistan had exposed its efforts, adding that people were no longer accepting India’s claims without scrutiny.

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