Pak army contradicts Sharif, says govt asked it to mediate
Pakistan's powerful military on Friday said it was the government that asked it to play a "facilitative role" in resolving the current impasse, contradicting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's statement that protest leaders approached the Army Chief to intervene.
Islamabad: Pakistan's powerful military on Friday said it was the government that asked it to play a "facilitative role" in resolving the current impasse, contradicting Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif's statement that protest leaders approached the Army Chief to intervene.
"COAS (Chief of Army Staff) was asked by the Govt to play facilitative role for resolution of current impasse, in yesterday's meeting, at #PM House," Major General Asim Bajwa tweeted as Sharif and protest leaders Imran Khan and Tahir-ul-Qadri traded charges over who was responsible for the army's intervention.
Bajwa's remarks came after Prime Minister Sharif told the National Assembly today that "neither had I asked army nor the armed forces sought a role in the present political crisis."
Sharif scotched media reports that it was he who "requested" the army to come to his rescue, saying it was Khan and Qadri who approached Army Chief Raheel to become a mediator.
Responding to Sharif's statement, an angry Pakistan Awami Tehreek (PAT) chief Qadri shot back, "I say this categorically that the Prime Minister asked the army to intervene. I am saying, on the record, that we did not make any request asking the army to intervene."
"I had not even spoken to the army chief before our meeting yesterday," Qadri said, adding that Sharif made the statement after he saw his government was losing strength. The fiery cleric claimed that Sharif was lying.
Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf chief Khan also slammed the premier for saying Qadri and he asked for the army to intervene.
"I want to tell you what I told the army chief. I told Gen Raheel that I do not trust Nawaz Sharif at all. I told Gen Raheel every reason as to why I will not leave without their resignations," Khan said, adding that PTI did not ask the army to mediate.
"I am not going to backtrack on the resignation of the prime minister on any account," he said.
The army had earlier asked all stakeholders in the crisis to hold "meaningful" talks to end the crisis.
In its 67-year history, Pakistan has witnessed three coups, including one against Sharif in 1999 by the then army chief General Parvez Musharraf.
The army, which has so far been passive in the confrontation between the government and protesters, has a history of capturing power from democratically elected governments.