Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Maj. Gen. Babar Iftikhar on Wednesday participated in his second television interview within this week, stressing that the military’s view of there being no conspiracy to oust Imran Khan from the premiership is based on intelligence reports and was not anyone’s personal opinion.
In an appearance on private broadcaster Hum News, he offered additional insight into the meeting of the National Security Committee (NSC), chaired by then-prime minister Imran Khan, which had determined there was no foreign conspiracy to oust him from power. He said the services chiefs who participated in the meeting had provided detailed inputs and presented information to the government ministers present based on intelligence reports, not mere speculation or opinion.
“This cannot be considered as someone’s opinion. It was a proper briefing based on intelligence reports,” he said. A day earlier, the military spokesman had told private broadcaster Dunya News that the participants of the NSC had all been briefed on the contents of the diplomatic cable that Khan has cited as “proof” of a conspiracy. “[They were] briefed that there was no conspiracy or evidence of any kind [against government], nothing like that happened. Participants were told in detail that there was no evidence of any conspiracy,” Maj. Gen. Iftikhar had stressed.
During Wednesday’s TV appearance, the DG ISPR also sought to rebut a statement issued by PTI leader Asad Umar earlier in the day. Reacting to the previous day’s Dunya News appearance, Umar had told a press conference that he thinks it “would be better for the Army and the country if the ISPR director-general doesn’t find it necessary to interpret political affairs again and again.”
In his appearance on Hum News, Maj. Gen. Iftikhar stressed that he had not issued any political statements. “I am the spokesperson of the services chiefs. If someone speaks something about the services chiefs, then I will have to clarify it—there is nothing political about this,” he said of his need to explain that there had been no conspiracy after former interior minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed had alleged that the services chiefs had not said there was no conspiracy during the NSC meeting.
“He [Rashid] was in a way trying to convey that he was speaking on their [military] behalf,” the DG ISPR said, stating that he was the only spokesperson of the services chiefs.
To a question, the military spokesman said the institution had no issues with the formation of a judicial commission to probe the PTI’s allegations, adding it would support any probe to the best of its ability. “By all means, judicial commission or whatever forum the government of the day decides … the institution will provide complete assistance,” he said.