Former Pakistan minister accepts there were tensions between Army and Imran Khan

A campaign on social media against the armed forces and its leadership was quite active and slogans critical of the Army were also chanted during protests on Sunday.
Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo | AP)
Former Pakistan PM Imran Khan (Photo | AP)

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan's former interior minister Sheikh Rashid on Wednesday acknowledged that there were tensions between the powerful Army and former prime minister Imran Khan.

Rashid, head of his Awami Muslim League (AML), had been a vocal supporter of Khan as his minister and ally, and talked about the "misunderstandings" of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) with the military establishment in the wake of his ouster.

A campaign on social media against the armed forces and its leadership was quite active and slogans critical of the Army were also chanted during protests on Sunday following the successful no-confidence motion.

"No slogan should be raised against the Army," he said ahead of a key PTI rally in Peshawar, which will be addressed by Khan.

He said that PTI should follow the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz which was critical of Army but make peace to come to power.

"If those (PML-N) who curse [the Army] can make peace with them (the Army), then we should also remove our misunderstandings and establish good relations with them (the Army)," he said.

Talking about PML-N's heavy criticism of the Army, he said its leaders openly "cursed this Army" and now "they're polishing their boots"

Ruffled by the amount of criticism, the Army on Tuesday took note of it and expressed complete confidence in the leadership's "well-considered stance to uphold the Constitution and the rule of law".

The Federal Investigation Agency arrested eight people in a crackdown on social media activists targeting the Army.

The powerful Pakistan Army has ruled the coup-prone country for more than half of its 75 years of existence and has hitherto wielded considerable power in the matters of security and foreign policy.

The Army, however, distanced itself from the recent high-voltage political tussle between Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and ousted premier Khan, saying it has nothing to do with politics.

Ousted prime minister Imran Khan was forcing Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers to resign from the country's National Assembly, senior PML-N leader Ayaz Sadiq alleged on Wednesday.

After losing the no-confidence motion against the PTI supremo and the election of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Shehbaz Sharif as the prime minister, Khan's party had boycotted the National Assembly session and announced en mass resignation from the lower house of Parliament.

Sadiq, a former Speaker of the National Assembly, at a press-conference said that Khan was forcefully asking lawmakers to resign and was submitting their resignations to Deputy Speaker Qasim Suri, GEO TV reported.

"In line with the law, every member should appear in person and submit their resignation to the speaker [] there are some conditions and questions that are noted before the acceptance of the resignation," Sadiq said, claiming that the PTI lawmakers were pressured into signing cyclostyled documents, which included their names and constituency.

"It is clearly stated in the rules that a lawmaker's resignation should be handwritten," he said.

Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker Sherry Rehman also asserted that the deputy speaker Suri was pressurising the National Assembly Secretariat on the issue of resignations.

"The deputy speaker is violating the laws [] Suri had said that he identified the members based on their signatures, but according to the rules, every member should be present in person for submitting their resignations," Rehman said.

According to Rehman, several PTI lawmakers have been contacting the opposition parties to express their reservations over Khan's policy of taking resignations forcefully.

Lashing out at the PTI for not following the Supreme Court and the Islamabad High Court's orders, the PPP lawmaker also urged the Election Commission of Pakistan to take cognisance of the matter.

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