Pakistan’s military spokesperson has taken “strong exception” to the intense political rhetoric in the country which involves the security institutions in disputes between various parties. The Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) has described such commentary in the public sphere as “intensified and deliberate attempts to drag Pakistan Armed Forces and their leadership in ongoing political discourse in the country.”
In the atmosphere of heightened political polarisation ever since the ouster of the government of former Prime Minister Imran Khan through a parliamentary vote of no confidence, a number of high-profile political figures and commentators have ascribed various political motives to the military leadership. ISPR has referred to them as “political leaders, few journalists and analysts on public forums and various communication platforms including social media.”
In the past few weeks a number of hashtags have been run on social media which target senior figures in the military leadership, aside from intense speculation and commentary on the motives of these officials.
In the view of the ISPR,
“This practice of unsubstantiated, defamatory and provocative statements /remarks is extremely damaging. Pakistan Armed Forces take strong exception to such unlawful and unethical practice and expect all to abide by the law and keep the Armed Forces out of political discourse in the best interest of the country.”
The rising political temperature in the country has seen a number of political forces and media voices taking positions on the military leadership’s stated position of ‘neutrality,’ ranging from appreciation to condemnation.
In his intense campaign since being ousted, Imran Khan has claimed that a regime change effort by the United States is the reason for his removal from power. He has made repeated references to historical figures like Mir Jafar, who, according to him, were commanders who sided with the British colonialists and betrayed Nawab Siraj-ud-daulah of Bengal. The PTI’s Shireen Mazari has spoken of “dark forces” in Pakistan who facilitated the alleged US conspiracy. Media personalities and social media commentators who accept the former ruling party’s conspiracy narrative have been even more direct in their commentary which implicates senior security officials in the ouster of the PTI from power.