Army has nothing to do with banners of COAS Gen Raheel: ISPR

Written by  Published by:Shiite News
Published in Pakistan
Wednesday, 13 July 2016

According to Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR), reference posters with Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif picture which are being displayed across various cities of Pakistan; Army or any affiliated organisations have nothing to do with it.

This was stated in a tweet by Inter Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Lt General Asim Saleem Bajwa.

On the other hand, posters begging army chief to launch a coup appeared in major cities including the capital Islamabad overnight, raising eyebrows in a country that has been ruled by the military for more than half its history.

The posters, which also appeared in Lahore, Karachi and the garrison city of Rawalpindi as well as several army-run cantonment areas, were placed there by ‘Move on Pakistan’ party. Interestingly, the banners sprang up overnight on all major thoroughfares and even in cantonment areas despite the presence of several checkpoints and extra security in at least 13 cities.

“Talk of leaving has become old, for God’s sake come now,” scream the posters, referring to General Raheel Sharif’s decision to step down at the end of his tenure this year.

They feature a large photograph of the general.

“Dictatorship is much better than this corrupt government,” Ali Hashmi, chief organiser behind Move on Pakistan, told AFP Tuesday.

“The way General Raheel Sharif has dealt with terrorism and corruption, there is no guarantee that the next man would be as effective as him,” he said.

Hashmi said that authorities in Islamabad and Punjab province, the prime minister’s power base, had removed the posters but that they continue to attract attention in other provinces. He that the goal of their campaign was to suggest to the army chief that after imposing martial law a government of technocrats should be made in Pakistan and Gen Raheel should himself supervise it.

Director General of Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Lt Gen Asim Bajwa in a tweet on Tuesday evening stated the Pakistan Army or any of its affiliated organisations have no connection to the banners that have appeared across the country. “Reference Posters with #COAS pic being displayed across various cities; Army or any affiliated organisation have nothing to do with it,” the tweet by ISPR chief said.

The Move on Pakistan party — which has little grass-root support — has been registered with the Election Commission of Pakistan for the past three years and a Faisalabad-based businessman, Muhammad Kamran, is its chairman. He reportedly runs a number of schools and businesses in Faisalabad, Sargodha and Lahore.

The party came into the spotlight in February when it put up posters and banners across the country asking the army chief not to retire and ‘help in eradicating terrorism and corruption from the country’.

Though five months back the party maintained that it was not inviting the army to take over, this time it said that ‘there is no choice but to enforce martial law and form a government of technocrats’.

Hashmi said that the absence of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from the country for more than 40 days proved that there was no need of a political government. “Those who have been running the country will keep running it.”

Regarding his party’s future plans, he said, “We have been considering holding rallies from Faisalabad to Lahore and Karachi to Sukkur in the second phase to convince the army chief that he should intervene for the betterment of the country and the nation.”

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