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In a first, DG ISI addresses media, confronts Imran Khan's narrative

  • In joint presser, DG ISPR says facts behind cypher and Arshad's death have to be determined
Published October 27, 2022

In an unprecedented development, Director-General Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt General Babar Iftikhar and Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) chief Lt General Nadeem Ahmed Anjum held a joint press conference on Thursday to shed light on the death of senior journalist Arshad Sharif and "tell the truth needed to end lies".

The presser comes as tensions rise in Pakistan, especially after death of the senior journalist in Kenya raising more questions on political dynamics, and ahead of a 'long march' announced by ousted premier Imran Khan.

This is the first time in Pakistan’s history that the head of the country’s spy agency directly addressed the media.

The DG ISPR said the briefing was being held to talk about the death of the journalist in Kenya and the circumstances surrounding it, so that "facts, fiction and opinion can be differentiated".

"Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif has been specially informed about the sensitivity of the press conference," he added.

  • Key points of DG ISI's press conference

  • "Narrative of Mir Jafar/ Mir Sadiq is total lie."

  • "COAS Bajwa took decisions in the best interest of the nation."

  • "COAS Bajwa was offered indefinite extension in his service in March 2022."

  • "If the COAS is a traitor, then why are backdoor meetings being held with him?"

On Arshad Sharif and the cypher

Lieutenant General Babar Iftikhar said that a particular narrative was being created and people being misled, adding that chief of army staff was also targeted and faced criticism.

"An attempt was made to create a divide in society," he said.

Talking about the cypher, which Imran Khan had claimed proved there was a foreign conspiracy to oust him from power, the DG ISPR said that the facts behind it and Arshad's death need to be determined.

"Since Arshad was an investigative journalist, he also looked into the cypher issue when it surfaced," DG ISPR added.

He said that the army chief had discussed it with Imran Khan on March 11 when the latter had termed it to be "not a big thing", adding that several facts had come to light regarding the cypher revealing the "baseless and unfounded" narrative surrounding it.

"The ISPR informed the National Security Committee that no proof was found regarding the conspiracy against the PTI government. The Inter-Services Intelligence also did not find any evidence regarding the conspiracy," he said.

He said they wanted to bring this to the public and left the decision to the-then government [PTI].

"However, this did not happen and more rumours were spread to gain political mileage," he said. The DG ISPR added that an attempt was made to defame Pakistan and the country's institutions across the world.

"The word neutral and apolitical was turned into an abuse. Amid this baseless narrative, the army chief and the institution showed restraint and we tried our level best that politicians sit together to resolve their issues."

'Arshad left for Kenya when his visa for Dubai expired'

The DG ISPR said the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KPK) government on August 5 issued a letter on the directives of Chief Minister Mahmood Khan which stated that a Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) splinter group was looking to target the journalist.

He further said that the threat alert was issued with the aim to force Arshad to leave the country, adding that there were reports that he did not want to leave the country.

"On August 10, Arshad left Peshawar airport for Dubai. He was provided complete protocol by the KPK government.

"Arshad remained in the UAE until he had a valid visa. He left for Kenya when his visa for Dubai expired."

Arshad Sharif’s murder: Probe body reconstituted

The DG ISPR said that no one forced the journalist to leave Dubai at a government level, questioning who exactly forced him to leave.

  • Key points of DG ISPR's press conference

  • "Arshad Sharif held meetings with Imran Khan and was possibly shown the minutes of meetings and the cypher."

  • "COAS inquired about the cypher from the former PM but Imran replied that it was not a big concern."

  • "The letter waved at the rally on March 27 and the narrative are far from reality."

  • "Pakistani envoy’s advice was used for political purpose."

  • "At the NSC meeting on March 31, ISI stated that there was no evidence of conspiracy against the then government and this is on record."

  • "NSC was told that the narrative was the personal assessment of Pakistani envoy."

  • "The line of action recommended by the envoy was conveyed by ISI to foreign office."

  • "We asked the (PTI) government to make public ISI’s findings but that wasn’t done and false narratives were sold to the public for political gains."

  • "Allegation that vote of no confidence was part of a conspiracy is baseless."

  • "Army leadership was targeted and attempts were made to link everything to treason and regime change operation."

  • "This was the time when a false narrative was fed to the media and the lies are now exposed."

  • "ARY played the role of spin doctor."

  • "Despite the propaganda, the institution and COAS acted responsibly."

  • "Arshad Sharif was targeting institutions since November 2021 but we had and have no negative sentiments for him."

  • "Arshad was seemingly coerced into leaving the country after some people highlighted the death threats received by him."

  • "KP government transported Arshad to airports and facilitate his exit from Pakistan. The institutions made no attempts to stop him."

  • "We recommend highest level inquiry committee for his killing."

  • "It is important to know who is benefiting from Arshad’s death."

  • "No one should be blamed until the inquiry report is released."

  • "If we made mistakes in the past, we are also washing them with our blood for the past 20 years."

He also questioned who was in contact with Arshad from Pakistan and who was hosting him in Kenya.

"It has to be examined whether this is a case of mistaken identity or one of targeted killing. There are several questions that have to be answered," the Lt Gen said.

He added that the ARY CEO should be brought back to Pakistan and made part of the probe as his name was surfacing again and again.

The DG ISPR said that after Arshad's death, people had started pointing fingers at the army, adding that it has to be determined who exactly benefitted from his killing.

ISI chief makes public appearance for first time

ISI chief Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum also addressed the press conference — the first time this has ever happened.

He said that he was holding the presser as there were many things related to the agency which "only we know so I thought I should come myself and take responsibility of what will be shared".

"We cannot allow young minds to be induced by any narrative that is far removed from the truth.”

He added that truth needed to be spoken to end lies.

"It is my duty to safeguard secrets and take them with me to the grave that the nation has entrusted me to safeguard.

“But whenever needed, I’ll reveal the secrets to defend my agency, martyred and officers,” said DG ISI.

He said that it is not possible that Imran can meet army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa in the night and then call him a "traitor in the day".

“If the commander-in-chief is a traitor then why did you meet him in hiding?" Don't do this where you meet quietly at night through the back door and express your unconstitutional wishes but call the army chief a traitor in broad daylight.

That is a big contradiction between your words and your actions."

He further said that it was highly condemnable to speak without proof, adding that words like "neutral and janwar" were meant to illustrate that the institution was indulging in sedition.

He said last year, the army had an intense discussion and "reached the conclusion that the country's benefit lies in us restricting ourselves to our constitutional role and remaining out of politics."

The chief added that in March, General Bajwa was given a "lucrative offer" for an extension in his tenure.

"It was made in front of me. He rejected it because he wanted the institution to move forward from a controversial role to a constitutional role."


Comments are closed.

KUKhan Oct 27, 2022 12:44pm
Damage control or meltdown? We are hammered with the narrative of Upholding the Constitution of Pakistan, but its implementation is only restricted to parliament and forming the government. The Judiciary and Establishment should understand that the people are in great pain and difficulty because the constitution and its implementation by the public sector do not trickle down to the common man. Freedom of speech, protection of business, seeking justice, or other fundamental rights is a far cry from what is promised in motivational speeches.
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Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani) Oct 27, 2022 12:50pm
So now all present and previous Military officials will show what gifts they received and deposited in Toshakhana and what cost bought back by Army top officials?
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Pakistani1 Oct 27, 2022 01:00pm
Please focus on actual actions rather than symbolic gestures.
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Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani) Oct 27, 2022 01:02pm
Arshad Sharif was exposing both of them, why imported government and it's handlers are so desperate? This shows military still trying to manipulate politics in their favor, their earlier claims of not mingling politics are lies as they always lied before.. It is victory of IK PTI over them. Pity to see these guys have been real rulers of Pakistan for failed 75 years.
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Neutral Oct 27, 2022 01:41pm
The corrupt mafia have exposed themselves! Such a shame for People of Pakistan. What a script, what a performance by Journalist. Salute hai boss
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Hussain Oct 27, 2022 02:18pm
“But whenever needed, I’ll reveal the secrets to defend my agency, martyred and officers,” said DG ISI." So you won't do it in the interest of Pakistan? You only care about the honour of 'neutrals'? Are you a civil servant employed by the Government of Pakistan or a 'neutral' servant not employed by the Government of Pakistan
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kashif Oct 27, 2022 03:03pm
@Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani), Oh just shutup mr and come back to pakistan to see the mess your pathetically incompetent leader has made out of pakistan.
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kashif Oct 27, 2022 03:11pm
@Hussain, the constitution of Pakistan is clear that the armed forces are neutral. Imran khan can cry to hell.
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Dr Javwad Malik Oct 27, 2022 03:13pm
Looks like Khan's PTI is going to have new factions. Khan's a goner.
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Hassan Akram Oct 27, 2022 03:34pm
Why ISPR chief has to come out to do press conference when we are paying General salary/perks to ISPR rep.
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Fazeel Siddiqui (Overseas Pakistani) Oct 27, 2022 06:28pm
@kashif, one of incompetent yet hateful out of masses of Pakistan asking to come back, are you guys ignorant who is running Pak economy? Why people asking me to take them Overseas? Need to find solutions for failed 75 years. Hate is not the solution.
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questionnmarkss Oct 27, 2022 07:31pm
Where is the defence minister? hiding under the table? :D...this further proves who is running the govt.
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Doc Asad Oct 27, 2022 08:07pm
Kuch zada hi tough time mil gya hai innocent neutrals ko i guess .
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K Khan Oct 27, 2022 11:18pm
Spectacular. The balloon has burst.
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Hassan Akram Oct 28, 2022 02:37am
Pretty useless Presso by ISI chief. Instead of coming clean , now they look more dirty...
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zh Oct 28, 2022 05:25am
The generals did no services to armed forces by holding this press conference. They proved the claim by Gen Bajwa wrong that the army had stoped interfering in the political affairs of the country. Instead of allaying the suspicion of political engineering by the army, the biased narrative has sent it north.
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Overseas Pakistan Oct 29, 2022 11:08pm
With this presser they are damaging their image even more. They made sure that people doubt regarding Arshad Sharif's killer turn into facts. We all know Woh Kaun tha? You have already divided society into rest of Pakistan and DHA. Please try to keep yourself within law.
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