It is normal for Director General of Inter Services Public Relations (DG-ISPR) to hold press conferences. But it is extraordinary for DG-ISPR and DG-Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) to hold a joint press conference. The ISI is a secret agency and is supposed to remain elusive.
In the past, such shows were held to boast the military’s conquests against the Indian army or militants. The October 27 press conference was loaded with explanations instead of information, which benefitted the army less and in fact harmed it more. Those who did not know the Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) labelled General Qamar Javed Bajwa as a traitor now know. It propagated the malicious PTI narrative.
It would at the same time be wrong to say that the press conference was completely unproductive. It made certain gains. It was historic.
One must view this event of Oct 27 realistically. As a realist, I believe the army has no role in the country’s politics. It played a role in the past that has been abandoned.
The October 27 press conference was loaded with explanations instead of information, which benefitted the army less and in fact harmed it more.
The truth is, the army is the largest political party and commercial group in Pakistan. We must recognize this truth sooner than later. Expecting that the army will give up its interference in political affairs and abandon its commercial activities is like hoping that lions will become omnivores.
The army is entrenched in politics due to follies of the country’s politicians. The ISI chief was right in saying that Imran Khan labels General Bajwa as a traitor in the morning and visits him in darkness of the night to seek favours.
After General Ziaul Haq imposed Martial Law, Bhutto held huge rallies and publicly vowed to teach Zia a lesson. Zia felt threatened. The Kasuri murder case was dug up, and what happened afterward echoes in our memory as ‘judicial murder’.
Can Imran Khan guess the next move? I am sure he can’t for he is the biggest enemy of common sense. The joint press conference sent out a subtle message. Surely we do not want to see an end a la ZAB via Arshad Sharif.