Pakistan Army slams former PM Imran Khan for ‘irresponsible and baseless’ allegations against ISI officer – India Today

By Press Trust of India: Pakistan’s Army on Monday slammed Imran Khan for “highly irresponsible and baseless” allegations by him against a serving ISI officer without any evidence as a fresh war of words broke out between the powerful military and the former prime minister.
In a strongly worded statement, the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) – the media wing of the military- also said that Khan’s “fabricated and malicious allegations are extremely unfortunate, deplorable and unacceptable.” “This has been a consistent pattern for last one year wherein military and intelligence agencies officials are targeted with insinuations and sensational propaganda for the furtherance of political objectives,” it said.
The statement came two days after the 70-year-old former cricketer-turned-politician at a rally on Saturday accused spy agency Inter-Services Intelligence’s (ISI) Gen Faisal Naseer of orchestrating plans to murder him.
“We ask the political leader concerned to make recourse to legal avenues and stop making false allegations. The institution reserves the right to take legal course of action against patently false and malafide statements and propaganda,” the ISPR said.
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Earlier, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif took the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) chief to task for “maligning and threatening” the army and intelligence agencies.
“Imran Niazi’s act of routinely maligning and threatening the Pakistan Army and Intelligence Agency for the sake of petty political gains is highly condemnable. His levelling of allegations without any proof against Gen Faisal Naseer and officers of our Intelligence Agency cannot be allowed and will not be tolerated,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Sharif blasted Khan for alleging that ISI’s Major-General Naseer, who allegedly tried to kill him twice, was also involved in the brutal murder of senior journalist Arshad Sharif.
Arshad Sharif, who was critical of the Army, was shot dead by police in Kenya last October days after he fled the country, citing threats to his life from the security agencies. The killing of Arshad Sharif caused outrage in Pakistan.
Kenya’s police, in an initial report, had said the 49-year-old was shot dead in a moving vehicle in a case of mistaken identity.
Khan had earlier accused Gen Naseer, along with Prime Minister Sharif and Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah of an assassination attempt on his life in November last year in Punjab province’s Wazirabad, where he received three bullets in his leg.
“As someone who has suffered two assassination attempts on his life in the last few months, can I dare to ask SS (Shehbaz Sharif) the following question” and proceeded to raise several critical queries about the role of army officials, Khan asked.
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Khan asked if he, as a citizen, has the right to nominate those “I feel were responsible for assassination attacks on me?”, and followed by questioning, “Why was I denied my legal & Constitutional right to register an FIR?” Then he raised the critical question about calling out any from the Army if involved in the violation of the law. “Does SS (Shehbaz Sharif) tweet mean military officers are above the law or that they cannot commit a crime? If we allege one of them has committed a crime, how is the institution being maligned?” Khan asked.
He also questioned who was powerful enough to sabotage the Wazirabad Joint Investigation Team while his PTI government was in power in the Punjab province.
Khan was ousted from power in April after losing a no-confidence vote in his leadership, which he alleged was part of a US-led conspiracy targeting him because of his independent foreign policy decisions on Russia, China, and Afghanistan.
Khan, who came to power in 2018, is the only Pakistani Prime Minister to be ousted in a no-confidence vote in Parliament.
He has since been critical of the Army, as he alleged that his removal was not possible without a nod from the powerful establishment, a charge denied by the army.

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