Islamabad [Pakistan], May 17 (ANI): Politicians in Pakistan across the political spectrum, ranging from Imran Khan to Maryam Nawaz, are targeting the all powerful Generals of the country with equal force and glee, despite the warnings of restraint from the establishment.
The spate of invectives and allegations against the Generals seems to be taking the shape of a gathering storm which can foretell a great upheaval in Pakistan.
After the army’s latest plea to ‘restrain or else’, Imran Khan was the first to shoot off his sling by putting the blame of Pakistan’s mounting economic miseries on the army. He claimed that he and his Finance Minister Shaukat Tarin had warned the “neutrals” that the “fragile economic recovery would go into a tailspin” if the conspiracy against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government succeeded. The neutrals are a new nomenclature for the army in the present imbroglio and replaces another pejorative term, “Gate No 4”.
Posing an even tougher stance, Imran Khan government’s former Human Rights Minister, Shireen Mazari alleged that “now everyone knows the neutrals were not actually neutral,” and questioned whether the Generals were “part of the conspiracy to derail Pakistan on the economic and democratic front”. These are strong words from a team which was on the Generals’ side till a few weeks back.
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Other parties were in any case nursing a grouse against the Generals. The Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PMLN) for instance, which leads the government, and claims to have the power of appointing the next Chief of Army Staff, has rarely been friendly to the Generals for decades.
In fact, the army went hammer and tongs to ensure that the PMLN supremo, Nawaz Sharif, was humiliated and thrown out of the country. It was the same General Bajwa and his team which wanted to crush the lone remaining mainstream party. Now, the same party is back home and is likely to play a tough game with the Generals in the near future.
The PMLN leaders have been insisting, more so after the Army warning, that the final decision on the next Army chief would be taken by the present Prime Minister. The party Vice President, Maryam Nawaz, in fact, has been laying down the broad criteria for the next Chief of Army Staff – thorough professional soldier with a non-controversial, unblemished and flawless reputation.
Worst comments have come from the Sharif’s partner party in the government, PPP whose leader, Asif Ali Zardari mocked at the serving Peshawar Corps Commander, Lt General Faiz Hamid who was the ISI chief said to be responsible for the rise of Imran Khan.
The statement evoked a sharp and quick response from the army. The Generals now find all the political parties that matter taking pot shots at them and this has triggered a growing concern among them about the possibility of a pitched battle in the days ahead which they must somehow win, a possibility that cannot be taken for granted in the present scenario.
What worries the Generals the most is the coming together of all political parties against them, a situation almost unprecedented. So from a ‘neutral’ umpire, the Pakistan Army is becoming a lone opponent to the political class, irrespective of identities, with their respective public support, determined to make use of discomfort among the Generals for a fresh battle in the public sphere. A Catch 22 situation today stares at the Pakistan Army. (ANI)