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ISLAMABAD: Pakistan military has emphasised that it should not be dragged into politics, and the same was also purportedly conveyed to the leadership of parliamentary parties that "military is not involved directly nor indirectly in the country's politics".

Sources said this was conveyed in a meeting of the parliamentary leaders last week with Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Javed Bajwa and Director General Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Lieutenant-General Faiz Hameed in which consultations were also held on the proposed reforms in Gilgit-Baltistan.

They said the political leadership was clearly conveyed that "military has nothing to do with the electoral reforms, the cases in the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and that military is neither involved directly nor indirectly in the politics".

This emerged, a day after, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif severely criticised the alleged role of the "establishment" in the country's politics, and the resolution passed an the all-party' conference (APC) of the opposition parties, expressing "serious" concerns over the increasing "interference" allegedly by the "establishment" in the politics.

The Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) has not yet formally responded to the allegations leveled by the former premier and the APC. Business Recorder also sought comments from the ISPR for its response both on the APC, and the meeting of the military leadership with the parliamentary leaders that took place last week. However, no response was received till filing of this report.

Sharing a "details" of the meeting, Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad, while talking privately to various media channels, said that leaders of all 15 parliamentary parties attended the meeting, prominently Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and leader of the opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif, Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) parliamentary leader in National Assembly Asad Mahmood, Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) chief Siraj-ul-Haq, and others.

"The Army Chief told the parliamentary leaders that military is not interested in the affairs of the politicians," Sheikh Rashid claimed, while quoting General Qamar Bajwa to have told the meeting of the parliamentary leaders.

The minister stated: "He [Army Chief] further said that our matter is only the cause of Pakistan and we want to put the country on the path of progress."

He said that the army chief also made it clear that the military would stand by any elected government in power for the development and prosperity of the country.

"He [Army Chief] also stated that if you come into power tomorrow, the military will stand by you. But we will not allow instability in the country and no one will be allowed to create disturbance," he claimed.

The minister also maintained that the parliamentary leaders agreed that Gilgit-Baltistan would be made part of Pakistan before or after the upcoming elections in GB.

He maintained that the army chief also stated that "we will have to defeat the designs of the international lobbies working within the country, and it is up to the politicians to see as to why the pressure is being developed on Pakistan and what conspiracy India is going to hatch against the country."

Business Recorder also sought comments from the PML-N spokesperson, Marriyam Aurangzeb, but no response was received till filing of this story. Talking to Aaj news, PPP's parliamentary leader in Senate Sherry Rehman refuted the claims made by Sheikh Rashid, saying that she does not remember that there was any discussion in the meeting with regard to what the minister has claimed.

She said the discussion only took place on Gilgit-Baltistan elections and reforms, which was a sensitive matter.

"As far as PPP is concerned, Bilawal did not talk in the meeting...only he [army chief] talked about Gilgit-Baltistan and its elections, which, of course, is a sensitive matter, as India always raises objections on the polls. I also pointed out that the meeting is not being held at the PM House...but there was no discussion from our side on the NAB," she said.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020