National News Desk
Islamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan has argued that the Army is a state agency that functions under him in the light of the opposition’s accusations of interference by the influential military establishment in the country’s politics and elections.
Pakistan Democratic Movement (PDM), an 11-party opposition coalition, has been holding rallies since its inception in September to pursue Khan’s ouster and to urge the military to avoid intervening in politics. The PDM accused the Pakistan Army of installing Prime Minister Khan’s proxy in a rigged election in 2018.
The Army, which has controlled Pakistan for more than half of its 70 plus years of existence, has exercised tremendous influence in the field of defence and foreign policy. However the army has denied interfering in the politics of the country.
According to the ‘Lahore Declaration signed by the opposition parties on Monday, the military establishment stole the mandate of the people in the 2018 elections and put a ‘hybrid and dysfunctional’ government on the masses.
In an interview with SAMAA TV on Friday, 68-year-old Khan denied charges that he had no real authority and said that the Pakistan Army is a state institution that operates under him.
On the opposition’s statement that the government would not last, if not for the support of the powerful establishment, the cricketer-turned-politician said that he was the constitutionally elected prime minister of the country and that the institutions backed him.
The PDM set a deadline of January 31 for Khan to step down or face a long march to Islamabad. The coalition promised to ensure that the establishment and intelligence” institutions do not intervene in politics and at the same time, to improve security institutions on a professional level.
Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Supreme and three-time former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, 70, has repeatedly accused army chief Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa and ISI spy agency chief Lt Gen Faiz Hameed for interfering in Pakistan’s political affairs.
In 2017, Sharif was dismissed from office by the Supreme Court on charges of corruption. The PML-N Chief, currently on bail, has been living in London since November last year when the courts and the government allowed him to go there for eight weeks for medical care. But he did not come back, though his lawyers told the court he was still healing.
Khan said the opposition did not want to hold talks with the government and instead pressed the army to send a pack of democratic government. This may be considered treason, he said.
The real explanation, Khan said, is that the Opposition wants to withdraw all cases against them and to grant them an NGO concession. National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRP) was issued by former military dictator Pervez Musharraf to withdraw cases against Benazir Bhutto in 2007.