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Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa (File Image)
Pakistan's Chief of Army Staff General Qamar Bajwa (File Image)

Pakistani Army bears public brunt amid political instability in country

ANI | Updated: Apr 20, 2022 20:53 IST


Islamabad [Pakistan], April 20 (ANI): The Pakistani Army is facing rising public scorn to the extent that the Army chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa and his influential public relations department are desperately trying to stem the tide of anger against the military, a media report said.
The social media campaign, spearheaded by former Prime Minister Imran Khan's party, has spread dissonance among the army leadership about General Bajwa's failure to protect the army's reputation, Islam Khabar reported.
The propaganda campaign against the army included fake audio messages of retired senior military officers. One such message was from former Army chief, General Aslam Beg. He denied making "deplorable and vulgar" statements against the army leadership. There have been no other denials yet, the report said.
The last time the army and its chief had become the target of such widespread public ridicule was during the time of General-President Pervez Musharraf in 2008. Scurrilous remarks against him and the army swept through mobile networks forcing the then chief, General Ashfaq Kayani to politely but firmly ask his boss to step down in the interest of the army, the report said.
The slander has hurt General Bajwa personally and he has been extremely vocal in his outburst, the report said, adding that, he accused the campaigners of creating a wedge between the army and the people. He said misinformation and propaganda threatened state integrity and would not be tolerated.

The report also said that General Bajwa has lost the game with the army making it clear that he would not get any more extensions. Bajwa is already on one extension and, according to the grapevine, has been keen on another extended tenure. But the skirmish with Imran Khan has put aside any such dream and Bajwa will make way for a new chief in November. There was too much bad blood in the army leadership over the first extension.
But before he leaves office. the report said, Bajwa has a lot at hand to resolve, the most critical being his and the army's image in public. From a soft-spoken General, Bajwa has turned into a fire-spewing one with uncharacteristic clarity and firmness.
Bajwa's recent criticism of Russia for the war on Ukraine and a commitment to the Pakistan Army's traditional relationship with the US, Bajwa is laying out ground rules for the army as well as the civilian leadership, a clear indication that the army would continue to manage the politics of the country.
ISPR Director General, Major General Babar Iftikhar recently said that maligning the armed forces was not acceptable while cautioning the political parties against using rough language against the army and warned that such actions spread negativity about the military among the people, especially youth who were not so knowledgeable about geopolitical situation.
Although a manhunt has been launched to disrupt the slander campaign, the Pak Army's image among people has taken a rough beating, the report concluded. (ANI)

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