Smear campaign against COAS deserves ‘strongest condemnation’: PM Shehbaz
- Says Imran Khan is stooping to unprecedented lows in desperation for power
Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif said on Monday that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s “disgusting smear campaign against Chief of the Army Staff (COAS) General Asim Munir… is deserving of the strongest condemnation”.
In a tweet, he said Imran “is stooping to unprecedented lows in his desperation for power and going to the extent of damaging the country and undermining our armed forces and their leadership”.
Separately a press release issued by the PM office quoted PM Shehbaz as saying that the campaign against the COAS was “intolerable and the continuation of a conspiracy against the national institutions.”
He urged overseas Pakistanis to raise their voice against the “foreign-funded” campaign.
“As the dirty political game is being played through the expatriates, they should not become part of the conspiracy,” he said. “Imran Khan is violating the constitution by dragging the institutions and their leadership into his dirty politics.”
The prime minister also instructed the interior minister to deal with those running smear campaign against the institutions.
He warned of legal action against those “fanning chaos and subversion in the country” adding that a campaign against an army chief appointed on merit “for the first time in the country’s history: could only be the agenda of anti-Pakistan elements.”
Last week, PTI Chairman Imran Khan had said the military had a role in pushing him out of power after relations soured with the previous army chief, General Qamar Javed Bajwa, who retired in November. He said the new chief, General Asim Munir, was following the same policy.
The military has previously denied his claims.
Earlier during the month, Imran claimed that his party’s “hardships” increased after the appointment of General Syed Asim Munir.
“It doesn’t matter to us, cases were filed against us during the tenure of General Bajwa (retd). Never before that had there been so much custodial torture against senior citizens. We thought there will be a change, but there has been none, rather problems increased for us”.
The PTI chairman said he was ready to talk to the COAS, but played down the notion that he needed the establishment’s support to return to power.
“I don’t need establishment, the party that has public support doesn’t need crutches.”