The opposition is playing a dangerous game
Intense anger has been shown by the government, led by the ruling party PTI, various political parties and the public in the aftermath of the remarks of the former speaker of the National Assembly Ayaz Sadiq who allegedly said on October 28, this year that the government had pleaded with parliamentary leaders in a meeting to let Indian pilot Abhinandan be freed. The Chief Of Army Staff also attended the meeting.
Sadiq allegedly added: “Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said to us, ‘For God’s sake, let him go back now…We did not agree with the decision…the decision was taken out of the fear of an imminent attack… The government[also] passed an ordinance to facilitate Indian spy Kulbhushan Jadhav”.
Next day, in response to Ayaz Sadiq’s remarks, without naming any politician, ISPR Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar said that such comments were “disappointing” and “misleading… any attempt to link the release of Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman with anything other than Pakistan’s mature response as a responsible state. A statement… yesterday… tried to distort the history associated with national security… following the attack on Indian troops in occupied Kashmir’s Pulwama area, India showed aggression against Pakistan on February 26, 2019, in which not only did it face defeat but was humiliated around the world… Not only did we give an appropriate reply, but also shot down two enemy war planes… Wing Commander Abhinandan was captured… country’s entire civil and military leadership was united in the decision”.
Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi dismissed Sadiq’s statement, saying that “the government had taken all parliamentary leaders into confidence… the captured Indian pilot was not mentioned in that meeting… Highly irresponsible statements are being issued for political gains.” Qureshi also condemned the opposition for creating controversy on Kulbhushan Yadav.
It is our misfortune that PDM leaders have launched a movement not only to topple the current regime, but have, also been distorting the image of the Army and ISI by ignoring their sacrifices in maintaining the integrity of the country
Afterwards, Sadiq changed his clear-cut statement with the clarification issued. But his statement went viral on social media and was picked up by Indian television channels which exploited them to malign Pakistan and its armed forces.
Sadiq’s anti-state remarks cannot be seen in isolation, as these are part of the PDM which wants to bring down the present government.
In this connection, addressing a PDM rally in Gujranwala on October 16 via a video link from London, ex-Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif accused COAS Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed of rigging elections and toppling his government to install Imran Khan in his place.
It is mentionable that Nawaz Sharif has been declared a proclaimed offender by the court, following his refusal to return to Pakistan to serve out his sentence. His brother Shehbaz Sharif and nephew Hamza Shehbaz are in NAB (National Accountability Bureau) custody in connection with corruption references, while his political heir apparent, Maryam Nawaz, is out on bail and her London-based brothers have been declared proclaimed offenders.
It is notable that, speaking at the PDM rally in Quetta on October 25, Jamiat Ulema-i-Pakistan (JUP) leader Maulana Shah Owais said: “We want Balochistan as an independent state”. Instead of denouncing his anti-Pakistan statement, opposition leaders including Maryam Nawaz, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Maulana Fazlur Rehman stated that today Balochistan looks like an underdeveloped area of the country.
Besides top officials of the government, on various occasions, Prime Minister Imran Khan stated that “Nawaz Sharif is a jackal who ran away to London with its tail between its legs… Sharif, who has been handed a seven-year jail term on corruption charges… is trying to sow discord in the military, the judiciary and the government in an attempt to escape accountability… the jackal used inappropriate language against the incumbent army and ISI chiefs… Sharif as a protégé of army generals is now trying to re-establish himself as a champion of democracy… the opposition [PDM] is attempting to blackmail me so I can forgive them for their alleged corruption… Their interest is against Pakistan’s interest… These people are speaking the language of Narendra Modi… it was disappointing what Ayaz Sadiq was saying about Abhinandan.”
Meanwhile, the PML(N) suffered massive setbacks with some of its leaders, including many MNAs and MPAs, decided to quit the party, while others condemned the speeches of Nawaz Sharif and Ayaz Sadiq, while appreciating the sacrifices of the armed forces in fight against terrorism and for security of the country.
It is noteworthy that regarding Indian surgical strike of February, last year, Islamabad had also released a video which exposed New Delhi’s false statements that Indian Air Force fighters killed 350 militants. Indian high civil and military leaders failed to provide any evidence in this respect. The PTI government also released the Indian pilot Wing Commander Abhinandan as a gesture of peace.
And, during the opening ceremony of the PML(N)’s Sher Jawan Movement on November 1, this year, defending the irrelevant stand of her party’s leaders, Maryam Nawaz stated that the “army should not let itself be dragged into politics… to be more careful”.
Notably, during the former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s regime, WAPDA was going to be bankrupted, and he had invited the Army to manage its affairs. By collecting the electricity bills even from the influential persons, the Army’s personnel had saved WAPDA from bankruptcy.
While the Pakistani armed forces have been the redeeming saviours of nation under all circumstances and have always reached out to all citizens of Pakistan during catastrophic periods— floods, earthquakes, the coronavirus pandemic, locusts attacks and so on.
At this critical juncture, Pakistan is facing multi-faceted crises and challenges, while the Covid-19 epidemic has affected the country in the wake of country’s fragile economy.
Moreover, Pakistan’s security forces have been coping with a different war, where the enemy is also different, who employs subversive activities of various kinds which include both internal and external challenges. And General Bajwa has repeatedly stated that Pakistan is facing the challenge of hybrid war.
But, it is our misfortune that PDM leaders have launched a movement not only to topple the current regime, but have, also been distorting the image of the Army and ISI by ignoring their sacrifices in maintaining the integrity of the country. Besides, in response to the PTI’s Tiger Force, the formation of the PML(N)’s Sher Jawan Movement shows that the opposition wants to create anarchy in the country, as clashes could occur between these two forces.
The opposition is playing a dangerous game