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May 13, 2023 12:00 pm | Updated 12:24 pm IST – Islamabad
Army troops stand guard in the “red zone” after the arrest of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan triggered violent protests by his supporters, in Islamabad, on May 11, 2023. | Photo Credit: AFP
Pakistan's Army has ruled out the possibility of imposing martial law in the country amidst the political turmoil and deteriorating law and order situation, following the arrest of former Prime Minister Imran Khan, saying Army chief General Asim Munir and the entire military leadership believe in democracy.
The remarks of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Major General Ahmed Sharif Chaudhry came after an almost four-day political turmoil erupted due to Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan’s arrest, in which Army’s installations, including the General Headquarters in Rawalpindi, were also targeted.
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“There is no question of imposing martial law in the country,” he told Geo News, adding that Army chief General Asim Munir and the entire military leadership along with him believe in democracy.
The Army remains Pakistan’s most powerful institution, having ruled it directly for close to half its 75-year history through three coups.
Mr. Chaudhry stressed that the Army's unity is unwavering and will persist, serving as a pillar of stability and security for the nation.
He also rejected social media rumours about resignations by top Army officers or anyone disobeying the military discipline.
“No one in the Army has resigned and no one has disobeyed any order,” the military spokesman said on May 12.
He also rejected the impression of division within the Army in the wake of attacks on military facilities during protests following the arrest of Imran Khan. “Despite the internal and external propaganda, the Army is united and will remain,” he said.
Major General Chaudhry further said that the army is united despite internal miscreants and external enemies.
“The dream of dividing the Pakistan Army will remain a dream, the Army is united under the leadership of Army Chief General Asim Munir and will remain united.” He called upon the public and media to rely on verified information from official sources rather than giving credence to unfounded speculation.
The Army has come under scanner after showing no response when the rioters ransacked the residence of Corps Commander Lahore after Imran Khan was arrested on May 9.
At least 10 people have been killed in the violence that erupted after Imran Khan's dramatic arrest by the paramilitary Rangers from the Islamabad High Court on Tuesday.
The unrest in the country has come to a halt for now as the Islamabad High Court (IHC) has provided blanket relief to Mr. Khan and barred authorities from arresting the PTI chief till Monday morning.
The former Prime Minister has been highly critical of the alleged role of the establishment, especially that of former Army chief General (retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa, in bringing down his government in April 2022. Before his retirement, Gen Bajwa said that the Pakistan Army will remain apolitical.
Pakistan / politics (general) / politics
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