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In a first, ISI chief attends presser to counter Imran’s anti-army tirade – Times of India

ISLAMABAD: The chief of Pakistan’s ISI Thursday broke with a decades-long tradition of silence in public to appear at a presser alongside the head of the army’s media wing and counter former PM Imran Khan’s alleged anti-military narrative ahead of his long march from Lahore to Islamabad, starting Friday.
“I know you are shocked to see me among you, and I can understand your surprise,” Lt Gen Nadeem Ahmed Anjum began amid a frisson of excitement coursing through the gathering.
“But today is a different day; I am not here for myself but for my institution, whose soldiers and officers sacrifice their lives every day for this country. I broke my silence because I saw the country and our institutions facing threats due to the lies that were being perpetuated and accepted by the youth,” he said.
Lt Gen Anjum, whose appointment as ISI chief in place of Lt Gen Faiz Hameed in October last year had been resisted by the erstwhile Imran-led government, claimed that army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa received “a lucrative offer” in March for an extended stint if he helped the former PM beat the then opposition’s no-confidence motion against him. “It (the offer) was made in front of me. He (Gen Bajwa) rejected it because he wanted the institution (the army) to move forward from a controversial to a constitutional role,” the ISI chief said.
Without naming Imran, he said that while everyone had the right to an opinion, it was intriguing that Gen Bajwa was being branded “a traitor” by the very person who had praised him.
“If you (Imran) see him as a traitor, then why do you meet him through the back door? Don’t do this. It’s a big contradiction between your words and your actions,” Lt Gen Anjum said
The ISI chief said that words like “neutral, jaanwar (animal), Mir Jafar and Mir Sadiq” were being used against Gen Bajwa and the army just because the institution had refused to bend to “his unconstitutional and illegal acts”.
Never before in Pakistan’s chequered history had an ISI chief appeared in public to directly address the media on any issue.
Military spokesperson Lt Gen Babar Iftikhar said the facts behind Imran’s claim about a foreign conspiracy behind his ouster and Pakistani journalist Arshad Sharif’s killing in Kenya needed to be determined. “Since Arshad was an investigative journalist, he had looked into the so-called conspiracy when it surfaced,” he said. “It has to be determined who exactly benefited from his killing.”
Gen Iftikhar claimed that on August 5, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (provincial) government of Imran’s Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf issued a “threat alert” on the instructions of CM Mahmood Khan, saying a splinter group of the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan was looking to target the journalist.
“No information was shared with the institutions that provided them the information,” Iftikhar said, adding it proved the alert had been issued with the objective of getting Arshad to leave the country.
The army spokesperson pointed out that the name of Salman Iqbal, CEO of the media organisation ARY, had been surfacing “again and again” in connection with this. “Iqbal should be brought back to Pakistan and made part of the probe,” he said.

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