ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's Opposition has criticised Prime Minister Imran Khan for meeting the chiefs of Pakistan Army and the powerful spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) after his Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party suffered a humiliating defeat in a closely-contested Senate election, saying "institutions" should restrict themselves to the constitutional and lawful role.
Army chief Gen.Qamar Javed Bajwa on Thursday met Prime Minister Khan as part of the interactions between the civilian and military leadership on national issues.
ISI Director General Lt Gen Faiz Hameed was also present during the meeting, the Dawn newspaper reported. The meeting was held to review the "internal and external situation".
However, no statement was issued by the Prime Minister's Office, which usually issues press releases on such meetings.
According to the report, people were quick to link the meeting to the latest political developments in the country following the Senate elections.
Maryam Nawaz, Vice President of the main Opposition party Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, said the military leadership "should not have been seen" with Prime Minister Khan after the developments in the Senate polls.
She said that the Prime Minister had called and met the heads of institutions in the lawns of the Prime Minister's House "on the day he suffered a humiliating defeat (and) his members expressed a lack of confidence in him and voted against him".
"Is he not dragging the institutions into politics?" she was quoted as saying in the report. She said that the meeting at this juncture does not send out good visuals.
"Institutions" should end the backing of Prime Minister Khan, if they have not done so far and should restrict themselves to the constitutional and lawful role, she said.
Addressing the military leadership, she said, "you should not have been seen sitting with Imran Khan at any cost a day after he suffered a battering (and) faced the people's and public representatives' wrath when he (Imran) was busy in machinations and rigging.
" Maryam also demanded that action should be taken against Prime Minister Khan as he has insulted the Election Commission of Pakistan and has also "dragged army into politics.
"On Thursday, Khan attacked the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), saying it failed to stop corruption on Wednesday's closely-contested Senate elections.
"You (ECP) discredited democracy"you damaged the morality of the nation by doing nothing to stop vote-buying," he alleged.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb said Khan was venting his anger out at the election commission as he has lost the confidence of the Parliament.
Pakistan's election commission on Friday expressed shock and disappointment over prime minister's allegations against it, asserting that the Senate elections were held as per the Constitution and it has "never come under any sort of pressure and God willing, will not in future as well.
" Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) candidate and former prime minister Yusuf Raza Gilani defeated the ruling PTI candidate Abdul Hafeez Shaikh on Wednesday, in a major blow to Khan, who had personally campaigned for his Cabinet colleague.
The defeat of the finance minister in the elections to the upper house prompted calls for resignation of Khan by the Opposition leaders.
Shaikh was defeated by a margin of 5 votes.
Prime Minister Khan on Saturday won a trust vote in the National Assembly, securing 178 votes in the 342-member lower house of Parliament during a special session.