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LAHORE: Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz has advised the Inter-Services Public Relation (ISPR) DG to be ‘very careful’ while making statements, saying that it does not suit the armed forces and other institutions to appear as if they are standing behind a political party.

“The DG ISPR should be very careful while making statements on political matters as he is a professional soldier and the spokesperson for the army,” she said while addressing the PML-N’s Sher Jawan Movement opening ceremony here on Sunday.

“It suits to Imran Khan and the government if they drag institutions in politics… This discrimination should not be there, the institutions are as much ours as theirs (government). Such precedents should not be set as it increases the divide between institutions and public,” she expressed.

The PML-N vice president was referring to a recent press conference by DG ISPR Maj-Gen Babar Iftikhar where he had said any attempt to link the release of Indian pilot Abhinandan Varthaman with anything other than Pakistan’s mature response as a responsible state was ‘disappointing’ and ‘misleading’. Babar had not named anyone.

The DG ISPR held the press conference a day after PML-N senior leader Ayaz Sadiq said on the floor of the National Assembly that the PTI government had released Abhinandan in capitulation, fearing an imminent attack from India.

However, Maryam regretted that though the DG ISPR was quick to respond to Sadiq’s remarks, but he has yet to make any statement or held a media briefing on the controversial remarks of Federal Minister for Science and Technology Fawad Chaudhry in which he had said: “Humne Hindustan ko ghuss ke mara hai (We targeted India by going inside their territory).”

Fawad, who was referring to the Pakistan Air Force’s response to India’s violation of its airspace on Feb 26 last year, went on to say: “Our success in Pulwama is the success of this nation under Prime Minister Imran Khan’s leadership.” His remarks came on the same day as Maj-Gen Iftikhar’s press conference.

As other lawmakers sought for the minister to explain his words, Fawad said: “The way we hit India inside their territory after the Pulwama incident, India’s own media and political leadership is embarrassed by that.”

His remarks were reported by the Indian media as a ‘sensational admission’ of Pakistan’s alleged involvement in the attack in Indian-occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area in Feb last year, in which 44 Indian soldiers were killed. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi too alluded to his statement as a ‘confession’ by Pakistan of its involvement in the Pulwama attack.

The PML-N vice president said a government minister had made comments due to which “even the Indian prime minister is charge-sheeting us”. The daughter of thrice-ousted prime minister urged the PML-N workers and supporters to stand with her father Nawaz Sharif in his struggle to ‘get respect for the vote.’ She told the PML-N workers not to malign the uniform and instead expose the characters who defame the armed forces.

She once again criticised Lt-Gen Asim Saleem Bajwa (retd), saying that the “nation wants to know how you, a salaried man, started businesses across the world.”

Talking about the alleged kidnapping and detention of Sindh Inspector General of Police (IGP) Mushtaq Mahar last month, Maryam said he was “kept in isolation for refusing to arrest Capt Mohammad Safdar (retd).” After Safdar’s arrest, a purported voice message by PML-N leader and former Sindh governor Muhammad Zubair was shared on social media in which Zubair alleged that the IG police was kidnapped and forced to register the FIR against Maryam, Safdar and 200 others for violating the sanctity of the Quaid’s mausoleum.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020

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