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Role of Pakistani Army in politics: How neutral is the establishment?

ANI | Updated: Sep 24, 2022 17:00 IST


Islamabad [Pakistan], September 24 (ANI): Pakistani Army plays a major role in the country's politics - calls the shots on domestic and international security and political affairs.
According to former Prime Minister Imran Khan, the establishment is still busy with political engineering and this time, in order to undermine Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf, reported The News International.
By his own admission, he would use agencies to retain the support of allies who were unhappy with him. Dissidents within the PTI were being treated with the same stick.
A PTI lawmaker, who refused to come for voting during a budget session, received a call from a spymaster. "Should I send men or aircraft to bring you," he threatened, leaving no option for the MNA but to come, reported The News International.
However, since Khan's removal, his lawmakers are being threatened through phone calls. Mr X and Mr Y, as he would name intelligence officials, are at work.

Things started changing after the top-level changes in ISI. According to a source, Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa thinks that since a lot of political engineering has occurred under his command, the process of taking corrective measures should also have started under his watch, reported The News.
There is no evidence to suggest any role of the establishment in pressuring Khan's allies to switch sides during the vote of no-confidence. Even Khan has nothing to say in this regard other than blaming the establishment for not supporting him to retain power.
The News spoke to several lawmakers known for toeing the line of the establishment. None of them said they were under any instruction.
Even after Khan's ouster, there was no pressure from the establishment on the new government to complete the remaining year of the parliamentary term. Instead, it wanted fresh elections held much like Khan and Nawaz Sharif.
Going by the establishment's narrative, they decided to pull out of politics a year before the ouster of Khan. "There was a growing impression that the Pakistan Army is the army of PTI. This is dangerous. Army belongs to all people of Pakistan," according to the establishment figure, reported The News.
There was a consensus at the top level, he continued, that we have supported the PTI government at each and every step and now let them (the PTI government) handle the situation by themselves. Nevertheless, the support was not withdrawn immediately. It took several months and could be actualised only after the change in the leadership of ISI.
How long the establishment remains neutral is a million-dollar question. (ANI)

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