Defense minister vows to act against Imran as ruling coalition issues joint statement

Imran Khan's comment termed as conspiracy against armed forces; Shehbaz, Zardari also condemn nefarious agenda

The political parties in the federal government have issued a joint statement in response to PTI Chief Imran Khan’s latest “attack” against the institution.

They condemned Imran Khan’s statement about the appointment of the next chief of army staff (COAS) as a conspiracy against the armed forces.

Defense Minister Khawaja Asif, meanwhile, held a press conference and announced that Imran Khan will soon face the law and action will be taken against him.

Separately, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari on Monday blasted Imran Khan for his ‘despicable utterances’ and ‘nefarious agenda’ and vowed to defend the state institutions.

The strong response from political leaders came a day after Imran Khan — addressing a rally in Faisalabad — said that Asif Zardari and Nawaz Sharif were trying their level best to nominate “their” army chief, who will be a personal favorite.

Imran also said that if a powerful and patriotic general became the chief of army staff (COAS) he would question Zardari and Nawaz about their corruption.

Besides politicians, the Islamabad High Court Chief Justice Athar Minallah was also irked by Imran Khan’s controversial statement. He advised the PTI chief to not to create problems for himself.

The current COAS General Bajwa is set to retire in November this year and Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif will appoint his successor.

Khawaja Asif

Addressing a press conference in Islamabad, Defence Minister Khawja Asif said that Imran Khan has been attacking Pakistan’s economy and defense in the past four months after earlier destroying the economy when he was in power.

Asif said that Khan wanted to create chaos in the country and he was targeting the armed forces.

The defense minister said that the former prime minister was demanding protection for his corruption from the military and he was motivated by his “lust” for power.

The minister said that no one had created a controversy around the appointment of COAS in Pakistan for 75 years.

What Imran Khan said yesterday amounted to enmity against the country, he said.

Khawaja Asif said that multiple actions were in the offing against Imran Khan and legal experts will decide what action could be taken.

“We will act under the law and will not do with Khan when was done to Nawaz Sharif,” he said.

The minister also predicted that the PTI will soon disperse. Think about it, how many faces are no longer seen in the PTI, he said.

Ruling coalition statement

In the joint statement, the ruling parties condemned Imran Khan’s attempt to incite hate against the Pakistan armed forces and their leadership and to create controversy around professional affairs.

The statement said that at a time when the nation was battling floods, Imran Khan was fighting with state institutions including the armed forces.

His grave accusations were meant at damaging the economic recovery of the country and were aimed at turning Pakistan into a Sri Lanka, the statement said.

It added that Imran Khan wanted to pitch the people against the armed forces.

The statement vowed that this sinister conspiracy will be defeated with the force of law and the constitution.

Shehbaz Sharif

Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif reacted to Khan’s statement in a tweet on Monday.

“Imran Niazi’s despicable utterances to malign institutions are touching new levels every day. He is now indulging in direct mud-slinging & poisonous allegations against Armed Forces & its leadership. His nefarious agenda is clearly to disrupt & undermine Pakistan,” the prime minister said in a tweet.

Asif Ali Zardari

PPP’s media cell published a statement from Asif Ali Zardari to Twitter.

The former president said that Imran Khan had revealed his true nature.

“Everyone is seeing who is the troublemaker. Today, everyone knows [who is the] man and the beast.

“This man is has signed up to weaken the country, but we won’t let that happen as long as we live,” he said vowing that the government won’t let the state institutions and generals fall prey to Imran’s “lust”.

Every one of our soldiers from a sepoy to a general is a patriot, he said.

PDM

Before the ruling parties issued the joint statement, a spokesperson of the Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM) — an alliance of several parties in the ruling coalition — held a press conference.

PDM Spokesperson Hafiz Hamdullah said that Imran Khan was bent on destroying Pakistan Army on the foreign agenda.

So the next COAS will not be a patriot if he is not Imran Khan’s personal favorite? asked Hamdullah addressing a press conference.

Who has allowed Niazi to distribute certification of patriotism? he said.

Hamdullah said that Imran Khan’s statement was another conspiracy to divide the Pakistan Army.

Chaudhry Shujaat

Khan also drew condemnation from PMLQ Chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, who said that from sepoys to generals everyone in the Pakistan military was a patriot and that no one needed a certificate of patriotism.

The nation will not allow anyone to embroil the military in politics at their public rallies, he said in a video statement.

Imran Khan

Pakistan Army

PM Shehbaz Sharif

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